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Jury finds Patrick Frazee guilty on all counts for the murder of Kelsey Berreth

Posted: 3:13 PM, Nov 18, 2019
Updated: 2019-11-18 17:16:41-05
Jury finds Patrick Frazee guilty of murdering fiancée Kelsey Berreth last Thanksgiving

TELLER COUNTY — — A jury has found Patrick Frazee guilty of all 6 counts for the November 2018 death of Kelsey Berreth. Frazee was charged with a total of eight counts in this case: first degree murder (after deliberation), solicitation to commit first-degree murder (three charges for each alleged instance of telling Krystal Kenney how to kill Berreth), murder in the first-degree (while committing another crime) and tampering with a deceased human body.

We have a crew at the Teller County Courthouse in Cripple Creek and will bring you more information shortly.

The majority of the case rested upon the testimony of Krystal Kenney who spoke to investigators only after securing a plea deal on an evidence tampering charge. The defense tried to cast doubt on her testimony and version of events, trying to imply she was more involved than she admitted. Prosecutors were able to piece together much more physical and data evidence based upon her interviews with law enforcement.
"We wouldn't even know where the murder happened in the apartment, even which room or where it happened at all, without her testimony," District Attorney Dan May said earlier this year.

Kenney faces a maximum sentence of three years if the crime is found to be aggravated, but the charge does not carry a mandatory sentence, meaning Kenney could walk free. Her sentence was delayed until after Frazee's trial.

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Closing arguments have wrapped up this morning in the murder trial of Patrick Frazee and the case has been turned over to the jury.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys had 90 minutes for each side to sum up their case. The jury went to the deliberation room at 11:18 a.m. Monday. The judge said jurors will have two pieces of audio: the call Frazee had with law enforcement and then a call to Joe Moore. Moore said he is a longtime friend of Frazee's.

The jury will also have three videos they can review: Kenney at the Frazee Ranch, Kenney at Berreth's townhome, video footage from the Conoco station. There is no restriction on the order in which the jurors watch or listen.

Jury instructions

As the prosecution prepares to wrap up their case, the courtroom is near capacity and the Berreth family is taking up two rows. News5's Sam Kraemer notes Berreth's mother is not in the room. The jury is instructed not to conduct any research on this case and not communicate with anyone about the case until deliberations are complete. Any verdicts must be unanimous.

There are six forms of verdict in this case.

  • Verdict count 1– murder in first degree after deliberation. They answer questions: did he use or threaten use of deadly weapon, did defendant cause death. Both should be signed if guilty. Only one if not guilty. Prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt.
  • Verdict count 2 — solicitation to commit first-degree murder (allegations he told Kenney to poison a coffee for Berreth on Sept 23).
  • Verdict count 3 — murder in first-degree felony murder. They answer questions: did defendant use or threaten use of deadly weapon, did defendant cause death. One signed if not guilty. Both if found guilty. Prosecutors must prove beyond reasonable doubt.
  • Verdict count 4 — solicitation to commit first-degree murder (allegations he told Kenney to kill Berreth with a bat on Oct 21).
  • Verdict count 5 — solicitation to commit first-degree murder (allegations he told Kenney to kill Berreth with a pipe on Oct 15).
  • Verdict count 6 — tampering with deceased human body.

Defense closing arguments

After a short break, Attorney Adam Stiegerwald stresses the story is made up and the foundation is shaky. The defense points out along with that, Krystal Kenney is not trustworthy.

“You are being asked to ignore your common sense and the direct evidence that has been presented to you the last 2 plus weeks and to listen to the circumstantial evidence that supports a story made up by Krystal Kenney after she had the DA’s on the dotted line...,” Stiegerwald says.

He says the timeline is made up and that they know it is because they went through it with Frazee. Stiegerwald then references FBI Agent Hoyland's analysis on cell phone records, which he says hinges on Kenney's story about the timeline.

“If the timeline is wrong, the whole thing comes crumbling down,” Stiegerwald says. “There is one door to Berreth’s condominium and there is a motion activated security camera pointed right at it. They conducted three minute experiments eleven months after Thanksgiving to say that’s why Frazee and Kenney aren’t on this camera the way we need them... Three minutes, eleven minutes later.. that’s why it doesn’t work.”

Stiegerwald says there is no photo of Frazee that supports the prosecutions case and there is no image of Kenney that supports the prosecutions case.

"There is no image of Frazee going in with a bat. He’s carrying a jacket when going in.... There is no image of Frazee going in with a tote,” he says.

He points out there is no explanation for where Frazee's truck is parked and that there is no image of Frazee leaving with a tote.

“There’s not an image of Frazee with a drop of blood on him. Not one. If Krystal Kenney’s description of this scene is accurate, why is there no evidence on any of his clothes? Why is there no image of PF leaving? Why is there no DNA from Frazee from inside Berreth’s washing machine?" Stigerwald says.

Stiegerwald says you have to believe Kenney before you can believe the rest of the evidence. He says Kenney testified she isn’t sure if she’s asking for probation when this is over. He points out that Kenney testified she wanted to be caught, but her actions don’t back that up, pointing out she drove down knowing she was cleaning up a bloody scene but didn’t call police.

“Is there anybody that believes that? It is absurd. This is the foundation upon which the prosecution has built their case, and it cannot rely on those two things: the timeline and Kenney’s story,” he says.

Stiegerwald references Reed says Frazee culminated his plan to kill Berreth on Thanksgiving. “It is the worst plan. Is there a day when people are... less likely to be alone... less likely to be missed than Thanksgiving?”

He says if Frazee's plan was to kill Berreth, why does he pick the worst possible location in the world for it.

“A tiny condo in the middle of the day on Thanksgiving.” He notes they were out at Nash Ranch. “Why wouldn’t he do it there?”

Stiegerwald points out that Frazee's DNA was not found in the home. “Why isn’t Patrick’s DNA everywhere?.... They found his DNA in ratios of seven and 2,200. If Frazee created the kind of crime scene Jonathyn Priest assumes he made based on Kenney’s story, there would be sweat. There would be trace DNA on everything.”

Now speaking to the jurors, He says this case has a lot of reasonable doubt. He says all jury members agreed this was important.

“If you believe after deliberating with your fellow jurors that casting your vote is important... you have to be able to cast it without hesitation. If you have hesitation, it’s because Frazee is not guilty, and the foundation the DA’s office built their case on cannot support this evidence,” Stiegerwald says.

District Attorney Dan May follows on the rebuttal by saying the defense doesn't want to explain how Berreth disappeared from her home.

“Berreth is somebody’s daughter. You got to see Cheryl... she’s somebody’s brother... she’s somebody’s coworker. You got to see people who worked with her, who said how reliable she was with a big smile on her face... does this sound like someone who would just disappear on her own?” He says.

May says the prosecution is asking for the defendant to be held accountable. “We are asking you to consider all the facts in this case, not apply speculation to them.”

He says they actually start in March-April, when Frazee’s trashing Berreth and reconnecting with Kenney. May references Joe Moore asking how Berreth is. “I figured out how to kill her. No body, no crime,” he attributed to PF. He says they saw Moore crying and how close he was to Frazee. “Did you believe Joe Moore?” Worried pieces of blood may be found on him, May says Frazee thought about this.

May goes through some of the “speculations the defense wants you to believe.” He says the kitchen window was a private walkway. May says both her neighbors were gone on Thanksgiving, which was why neighbors didn’t see or hear a thing. May says nobody would say all criminals make good plans.

May says the DNA expert said she wasn’t surprised at the absence of Kenney’s DNA, based on the clothing she wore. “They keep asking you to speculate.”

May says it doesn’t matter whether Frazee’s DNA is in the house. May says the defense wants them to speculate on a camera that picks up around 50 percent of the time. May says at most the photos were confused at two hours at best (the different shadows), but the defense doesn’t want to talk about the photo of Berreth, Frazee and Kaylee at the door with the poinsettia. He says the defense doesn’t want to talk about all the photos showing Frazee going in and out of the home.

“We are asking you to please stop this defendant from getting away with murder, and find him guilty on all charges.”

Prosecution closing arguments

Prosecutor Beth Reed explained to the jury how Kelsey Berreth was planning a Christmas party the day before she was last seen. On November 22, she went to Loaf 'N Jug to get medication for Frazee as he was not feeling well and purchased the makings for a bread dip. “While Kelsey Berreth is planning a future, this man (Frazee) is planning to kill her for months, for months," says Reed.

She pieces together the prosecution's evidence to tell a story of how Frazee planned to kill Berreth by working to create an alibi, attempted to get Krystal Kenney to commit the crime, and lied to everyone about his whereabouts and activity on the day Berreth was last seen. “He’s fabricating and manipulating phone calls to serve his own interest,” Reed says. “He’s setting up his story. Stories that we know can’t be true. The problem for the defendant is that he’s not even consistent in that."

Reed shows six elements of first-degree murder after deliberation required under Colorado law. “He’s the only one with the means, the motive and the evidence supports that killed Berreth,” Reed says. Pre-meditated, calculated homicide she says. After deliberation means it was made intentionally and after reflection and judgment concerning the act. He finished her off because she was a problem to him,” Reed says.

Reed discounts the option of a second-degree murder charge during her presentation. “This does not apply in this case.... there is nothing about this case that screams second-degree murder. Everything is premeditated. Everything is deliberated,” Reed says. She says second-degree murder is in a quick moment. “Do not check the box for reckless manslaughter.” “What risky behavior, what risk did the defendant disregard in this case?” That’s not this situation, she says.

“Krystal Kenney didn’t have to come forward. She could’ve stayed silent. But when she did come forward, she told us everything, including the things that subject her to criminal prosecution,” Reed says. She says the jury has to consider everything Kenney testified to is corroborated by all the physical evidence. “Do you know how much of the defendant’s story is corroborated by evidence? Zero.”

She points out the ranch hands building the fire and saying it was warm when they returned. She says Frazee threw antlers in the fire in case someone looked deep in the ashes and saw bone fragments. She says the ranch hands picked up nails with the magnet. She says it was compelling when Kenney walked up right to the burn area on body cam on Dec 21.

Reed pulls the gas can up. She says it’s the same you see Frazee filling up on Nov 24. She points to the identical tote, says it’s the same type Frazee told Kenney not to shine the spotlight on when he poured gas and motor oil into it. "Not only did he burn the body to what would probably be an unrecognizable state to most of us, he further disposed of it. I wish I could tell you where.” She points out Kenney's testimony that he was going to dispose it in a landfill or river. She references more testimony of Frazee saying Teller County is a vast place.

“No body, no crime. That’s what the defendant has been banking on for several months..... the problem for him is the evidence," she continues. Reed reminds the jury that their instructions don't include deciding why Berreth was killed but if Frazee killed her.

Reed says it doesn’t matter if the evidence is circumstantial or direct. Reed says the evidence is the photos, the box, the gas can, the testimony, the circumstances under all events took place. “It’s compelling, it’s overwhelming that the defendant is guilty.”

“The courtroom is where the truth... comes to light. Ladies and gentlemen, the evidence compels you to one verdict and one verdict only. That is he is guilty of first-degree murder after deliberation. He is guilty of soliciting Krystal Kenney. And he is guilty of tampering with a human deceased body.”

As of 10:00 a.m. the court went on a 20-minute break. We'll update this story as more information becomes available.
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One of the last witness testimonies we heard Friday came from a former inmate who was in the Teller County jail with Frazee. He claims Frazee asked him through an exchange of letters to help kill Krystal Kenney, who is considered the key witness in this case, along with other witnesses before the trial began. Read more of his testimony and the others from Friday by clicking here.

Frazee was reminded by the judge he has the right to testify in his own defense or remain silent. He replied, "I will remain silent."

He was originally charged with first degree murder, now jurors have the option of convicting on lesser charges of second-degree murder or manslaughter. Under Colorado law, first-degree murder carries a maximum of life in prison or the death penalty (which was not being sought in this case). Second-degree murder carries a sentencing range from 8 to 24 years in prison. Manslaughter carries a sentencing range from 2 to 6 years in prison.

As cameras, live tweeting and live blogging are not allowed during these proceedings, all of the information from the courtroom is drawn from extensive notes made by News5's Sam Kraemer. Follow his updates online and on-air on News5 at 5, 6 and 10 p.m.

For more of our coverage from the beginning of Kelsey Berreth's case, you can click here .

Background:

Patrick Frazee is accused of first-degree murder for the death of his fiancee, Kelsey Berreth, despite investigators never recovering her body since she was last seen alive on surveillance video inside the Woodland Park Safeway on Thanskgiving 2018.

Woodland Park Police have not found Berreth's remains. Berreth, 29, is presumed dead after prosecutors said Frazee, 33, her fiancé, beat her to death on Thanksgiving 2018. In December of last year, Patrick Frazee was arrested and charged with first-degree murder and solicitation to commit first-degree murder.

He faces eight total charges — two counts of first-degree murder, three counts of solicitation to commit first-degree murder, one count of tampering with a deceased human body and two counts of a crime of violence — for the presumed murder of Kelsey Berreth on Thanksgiving 2018. Click here to see the criminal complaint and arrest affidavit.

We will be updating this timeline with information from each testimony as the trial continues.

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Visit our Frazee Trial section of the site for complete coverage
Breaking down the case against Patrick Frazee for the murder of Kelsey Berreth
Kenney primed for key witness role in Frazee murder trial
Berreths seek justice; Frazee supporters optimistic ahead of trial
Patrick Frazee arrested for first-degree murder in Kelsey Berreth case
Warrants reveal cell phone evidence in Frazee case
Arrest affidavit released in case against Patrick Frazee
Drone video shows area where investigators searched Frazee property
All public documents in the Patrick Frazee case

Cameras and any live coverage of the trial are forbidden per judge's orders. News5's Sam Kraemer is covering the trial during breaks in proceedings. Be sure to follow him on social media for the latest.