Published: Thu, November 21, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Colorado rancher Patrick Frazee convicted in brutal murder of fiancee Kelsey Berreth

Colorado rancher Patrick Frazee convicted in brutal murder of fiancee Kelsey Berreth

A jury found Patrick Frazee guilty of first-degree murder for killing his 29-year-old fiancee Kelsey Berreth on Thanksgiving Day of 2018.

Frazee received the maximum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole with an additional 156 years, plus 5 years with parole for solicitation.

Berreth went missing on November 22, 2018, and her body still hasn't been found. Frazee, 33, was charged with beating Berreth to death with a baseball bat while their child was nearby.

In closing arguments, Frazee attorney Adam Steigerwald had attacked the credibility of the prosecution's key witness, Krystal Lee, a former Idaho nurse who had been romantically involved with Frazee off and on for over a decade.

Lee acknowledged she took Berreth's cellphone with her to Idaho at Frazee's request to try to deceive investigators about Berreth's whereabouts. She testified that Berreth's last words, according to Frazee, were: "Please stop".

Before the judge handed down the sentence, Berreth's uncle, Scott Morin, read a series of letters from family and friends, who described her as a quiet, kind and caring person.

"While Kelsey (was) planning a future ... the defendant ... this man", she said, pointing to Frazee, "(was) planning to kill her for months".

After attempting to convince Lee to kill Berreth on three separate occasions, she says that Frazee beat Berreth to death with a baseball bat.

"Whether it was high velocity blood splatter or jailhouse notes and when you're dealing with circumstantial evidence what you're trying to do is still really take a puzzle and piece it together so the jury can still see the big picture", Longo said. Authorities said that after interviewing numerous people they had gathered enough evidence to swear out a warrant.

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Kenney, who said she cleaned up Berreth's townhouse at Frazee's direction, pleaded guilty in February to evidence tampering and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors as part of a plea bargain.

A Teller County Department of Human Services employee testified that when she talked to Frazee after Berreth's disappearance, he told her they texted for two days after Thanksgiving.

"He not only killed our daughter - his child's mother - but he chose a frightful death for her", she said.

Kenney, who initially lied to Federal Bureau of Investigation agents about her involvement, later pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of tampering with evidence and agreed to testify against Frazee.

A former police officer who now specializes in blood pattern analysis testified the blood patterns found in Berreth's home were consistent with someone being struck multiple times - and with a bat.

Kenney told the court the couple's 1-year-old daughter was in the apartment when Berreth was killed. Berreth's parents argue in a wrongful-death lawsuit that they believe Frazee wanted full custody of the couple's daughter, who now lives with them.

Witnesses testified that Frazee accused Berreth of abusing their daughter.

Prosecutors have not given a motive for the slaying. Kenney told jurors that Frazee had confessed to the killing to her and that she helped him burn the body on his ranch. "He did not finish that sentence", Moore testified.

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