CRIPPLE CREEK, Colo. (KKTV) - Nearly one year after a Woodland Park woman vanished, never to be heard from again, a trial is now underway for the man authorities believe killed her.
Jury selection in the People v. Patrick Frazee began on a cold, snowy Oct. 28 in Cripple Creek and was seated the day after Halloween with nine women, seven men, and four alternates evenly split between gender lines. Opening statements began at 2 p.m. on the same day.
The jurors are tasked with deciding whether Frazee killed the mother of his child, Kelsey Berreth.
Berreth, 29, was last seen on surveillance at a Woodland Park Safeway on Thanksgiving 2018. Cameras captured her grabbing a grocery cart with the 1-year-old daughter she shared with Frazee. She was reported missing days later when her mother didn't hear from her. Berreth's mother and brother then flew to Colorado to try and find her. While staying in Berreth's townhome, her brother found blood on the toilet bowl. That forced investigators to open an investigation.
Frazee's alleged girlfriend, Idaho nurse Krystal Lee, came forward and told investigators Frazee killed Berreth in her Woodland Park condo. Lee told law enforcement on Thanksgiving, Frazee blindfolded Berreth while she was sniffing candles and beat her on the back of the head with a baseball bat.
Berreth's body has not been found.
11 News reporter Ashley Franco is covering the trial from Cripple Creek. Below is an update from her from each day of the trial. The trial is expected to last three weeks.
DAY 8 Nov. 13
In court on Wednesday, we learned the FBI was unable to link the tooth found in a burn pile on Frazee's property to Kelsey Berreth. Investigators state other testing found it was likely human and belonged to a female. The testing ultimately destroyed the tooth. A forensic anthropologist who testified today said she had examined the fragment of the tooth. She revealed it was actually two fragments, one was pretty small and the other was bigger. We saw pictures the forensic anthropologist took of the tooth. She told the court today after examining it, it was a human tooth. She testified that she's tested hundreds of things similar to a tooth, so she knew what to look for and what to compare it to. Later on in the day a DNA analyst with the CBI, Caitlin Rogers, said she initially tried to test the tooth. She told the court she tried to test the tooth and all she could gather from the fragment was it was a human tooth that belonged to a female. She said DNA was detected on the tooth but there wasn't enough for them to develop a profile from it. The tooth was then sent to the FBI for further testing. Their testing ultimately destroyed the tooth because of the specific testing they performed. According to Rogers, the FBI couldn't retrieve any DNA from it either.
Caitlin Rogers also told the court she tested about 92 pieces of evidence in the case. Some of the stand out evidence included blood from floor boards in Kelsey Berreth's condo, blood from the fireplace, and blood from a baby gate. Rogers said the blood from the fire place was only one person's blood, Kelsey's. She said the same about the baby gate. She testified she tested both items which came back positive for blood and when she tested them she said the blood came back to a single contributor which was Kelsey Berreth. When she moved on to the floorboards she said Berreth's DNA was present, but so was someone else's. Rogers stated Susan Gorney's DNA was present in the floor board. We learned today she lived in the townhome before Kelsey for more than 20 years, so it was not uncommon her DNA would be found places. Earlier in the trial Krystal Lee told investigators she cleaned the crime scene at Berreth's condo where she was allegedly killed. Lee told the court she used bleach to clean up the condo. Prosecutors asked the DNA analyst what affect bleach could have on DNA. Rogers said bleach completely destroys DNA. So, places such as between the floorboards wouldn't be affected because the bleach didn't reach between them. Lee told investigators she purposely left spots of blood so investigators would find them, specifically blood on the fireplace.
Several coworkers of Kelsey's testified. They told the court they remembered Kelsey as a sweet, quiet person who loved to be a mom and worked extraordinarily hard. They all said they worked closely with Kelsey and she had mentioned times when her and Patrick would have relationship issues. One co-worker said Kelsey told her Patrick Frazee did not treat her well.
One of the HR people at DOS Aviation, Kelsey's place of work, testified about medical benefits and life insurance. She told the court Patrick Frazee was the beneficiary on Kelsey's life insurance policy. She also said he was the emergency contact for Kelsey.
One of Patrick Frazee's friends and previous clients testified as well today. She said she's know Patrick since she was 8 years old. She told the court Patrick told her he had to pick up Kaylee, the couples one year old daughter, up from the hospital when she was born because her mom "signed over the rights of the child." She said Frazee told her he had full custody of the baby because the mom didn't care. According to several other witnesses, Patrick Frazee told them a similar story about how Kelsey Berreth left the daughter with him and gave him full custody because she didn't want to be a mom. People who testified who knew Kelsey said this was never the case and Kelsey loved being a mom. They said Kaylee was her whole world.
The judge today also stated today along with the prosecution, that the prosecution is very much ahead of schedule with witnesses. Originally potential jurors were told to expect the trial to last until at least November 22nd. Today the judge said he's "cautiously optimistic there is a strong chance for closing arguments Friday afternoon." Prosecutors said they would be wrapping up witnesses tomorrow. The defense plans to call one witness on Friday with closing statements Friday afternoon. Today Judge Sells told Patrick Frazee he has until Friday to decide if he plans to testify in the case or not.
DAY 7 Nov. 12
CBI agent Tanya Atkinson took the stand today. She told the court she and a team of investigators found what they believed to be blood seeping through the floorboards in Kelsey Berreth's condo. Agent Atkinson said on December 21st, 2018 they removed the hardwood floor in Berreth's condo because they had information from Krystal Lee that she heavily cleaned the townhome. When investigators tore it up, they say on the sides of the floorboards there appeared to be dried blood. They showed pictures of the floorboards with suspected blood on it in court. The pictures were of redish brown stains on the sides of floorboards in an un uniform fashion. Agent Atkinson said she also went to the Nash Ranch because Krystal Lee told them Frazee stored Berreth's body in a black plastic tote box and placed it on the top of a hay bale in a barn at the ranch. Agent said she noticed a stain on the top of a hay bale. When investigators were processing the scene they measured the stain, a picture of this was shown to the court. After the picture was shown District Attorney, Dan May, handed the investigator a tape measure and a black tote box they retrieved from Frazee's property. He asked Agent Atkinson to measure it, the measurements matched the same measurements of the stain on the hay bale. About 3 feet long and just shy of 2 feet wide.
A close friend of Frazee's took the stand. Bob Slagle said he and Patrick were close. He told the court that after Berreth went missing, he went with Frazee to different places of business to trace an alibi for the day Kelsey went missing, Thanksgiving 2018. Prosecutors also asked him about a specific envelope they found at Frazee's property. Slagle reviewed the envelope, which had handwritten notes on it. He told the court that was the alibi Frazee came up with for Thanksgiving when Kelsey went missing.We heard previous testimony from law enforcement that a package was left near Berreth's front door and the next day when they went back to search the townhome the package was gone. Slagle testified he was the one to pick the package up, and he was seen on surveillance doing so.
Today, an officer from the Twin Falls Police Department, in Idaho testified about evidence he found at the home Krystal Lee shared with her ex-husband. Officer Joshua Hayes said he was contacted by an agent with the CBI. Officer Hayes says the agent asked hime to look for a burn pile that could contain a purse, documents, and possible a cellphone. The officer stated when he went to search the property he found two burn piles. In on pile, located in the backyard of the Lee property, the officer said he uncovered what he called a piece of electronic equipment similar to that used in a phone. He also said they found a tempered glass screen protector that had looked to have been burned. Hayes said as they continued to search the property they discovered another burn pile on the northeast side of the property. It was revealed officers found more pieces of what they believed to be a cellphone. Krystal Lee testified earlier that she burned Kelsey Berreth's phone, along with one of her own phones, on her property.
DAY 6 NOV. 8
Friday afternoon it was revealed in court that the FBI found something on Frazee's property at a burn pile that is believed to be a human tooth. Lee claims Frazee burned Berreth's body in that area.
A friend of Frazee also took the stand, stating Frazee told him, "I figured out how to kill Kelsey." The friend said he told Frazee to stop messing around and Patrick allegedly responded, "no body no crime."
Special Agent Donald Peterson with the FBI explained the moments they searched an area on Patrick Frazee's property. Special Agent Peterson said Krystal Lee led them to the site where Patrick Frazee allegedly burned Kelsey Berreth's body. He said his team was assigned to test the alleged burn area. Peterson said they removed the soil on top of the burn site and found a lump of burned plastic. Krystal Lee told them Patrick Frazee put Kelsey Berreth's body in a plastic tote box and burned it in that. From there, investigators tested the soil and sifted through it on site. Peterson said on the last shovel full of dirt, they found something. He says it was a tooth. At this point in the trial, we have not been told if the tooth has been tested for DNA or who it may belong to. Special Agent Stephanie Benitze with the FBI testified, she was the agent who found the tooth on the property. They showed a picture of the tooth in court and had it in an evidence bag which the special agent removed and presented to the court.
Next on the stand was Joe Moore, he says he was a close friend of Patrick Frazee's and considered him a son. During the beginning of his testimony tears began to stream down his face, and he uttered: "I just don't wanna picture someone that I've known for that long and have trusted... you just don't wanna think they could do something like this." Later on, he recalled a conversation with Frazee from April 2018. Moore said the conversation went something like this: "I asked Patrick how things were going with Kaylee Jo's mom, that's how I referred to Kelsey," Moore said Frazee responded with "I figured out a way to kill her." Moore said he responded saying "Don't even say that, get that sh*t out of your head." According to Moore, Frazee then said "No body, no crime." Moore said Frazee said that same phrase on separate occasions about Kelsey Berreth. Moore explained to the court that Frazee had told him he had people watching Kelsey to "keep an eye on her." Moore continued his testimony stating in December 2018, Frazee told him he had blood from Kelsey on his clothes. Frazee allegedly told Moore he had Kelsey's blood on his shirt, pants, and bottom of his boots. Moore told the court he asked Frazee how it got there, he says Frazee told him Kelsey got a nose bleed while she was laying in his lap, and it dripped onto his pants and shirt. Frazee allegedly said that one day they were at the barn and Kelsey got hit in the face and started to bleed. Moored testified that Frazee said he stepped into the blood and that's how it got on the bottom of his boots. Moore told the court Frazee asked him "do you think they'll find it if I've washed my clothes?" Moore said Frazee never seemed concerned that Kelsey was missing or hoped she was okay.
Moore ended by saying on December 20, 2018, just one day before Patrick Frazee was arrested, Frazee told him something odd. According to Moore, the two were driving when Frazee began to talk about national news. Moore says Frazee told him "I don't even understand why there is such a big deal over this, people go missing all the time." Moore said Frazee continued by saying, "Man if I knew it was going to blow up this big I would have never..." Moore says Patrick Frazee never finished the rest of that sentence. When the prosecution asked why he never did anything about the statements Frazee was allegedly saying to him, Moore said it was because he didn't think Frazee could follow through on something like that and that he thought he was kidding.
DAY 5: Nov. 7:
Krystal Lee took the stand today after an emotional and chilling testimony the day before. As prosecution continued to question her, her story began to take shape. She began the day explaining why she came forward and told investigators her story. She stated Kelsey Berreth's family deserved to know what happened. As prosecutors continued, they began displaying pictures of the inside of Kelsey Berreth's condo after investigators had been through it. They presented the pictures to Krystal who proceeded by explaining what she says sh\e saw when she walked into Kelsey Berreth's condo after Patrick Frazee allegedly killed her there.
One picture is the east wall in Kelsey's condo. Krystal uses a laser pointer to show where she saw blood splatter on the wall. The range covered most of the wall, Krsytal explained when she cleaned it she had to us a chair and even then says she couldn't reach the highest part of the wall with blood on it. Several more pictures were shown. One in particular, it was taken after investigators had gone through Kelsey's townhome. This picture was when Krystal took them to the townhome to paint a picture of the crime scene for them. In this picture we see Kelsey's living room floor completely torn up, with several investigators and Krystal Lee standing around the middle of the floor. Krystal has a broom and is pointing to a specific area on the floor. In court she said she was using the broom to point to where she found a tooth when she was cleaning up the crime scene.
The court is shown body camera footage from December 21st, when Krystal took investigators to Patrick Frazee's property. In the video you hear and see law enforcement asking Krystal specific questions. They ask her to show them where Patrick Frazee allegedly burned Kelsey Berreth's body. Krystal leads them toward the top of the property, past Patrick Frazee's home, toward a barn tucked back into the property. She points to a place on the ground and tells investigators that's where it happened. You can see in the video, and in several pictures from investigators, a discoloration in the dirt, as if someone put new dirt there. She also points out the gas can she says Patrick Frazee used to pour gasoline on the black tote that allegedly had Kelsey Berreth body in it.
Later on in the day the defense has their chance to question Krystal Lee. The questioning was fast paced and very direct. They asked her several questions as to why she never called police after Patrick allegedly solicited her three times. They asked her why she never told anyone. They asked her if the only reason she came up with this story was because she made a plea deal with the DA's office. Krystal answered questions quickly. She told the court she didn't tell anyone because she didn't want anyone else involved because she knew it was trouble. She also said she wanted to show her loyalty to Patrick. As for her story, she said what she's told to the court is the truth.
When the prosecution asked some follow up questions, one sequence of questions in particular stuck out. Senior Deputy District Attorney, Jennifer Viehman asked, "Is the truth that Patrick killed Kelsey Berreth?" Krystal responds saying "yes." Viehman asks "Did you kill Kelsey Berreth?" Krystal says "no." Viehman asks "did Patrick tell you who killed Kelsey?" Krystal replied, "yes." One final question, Viehman asks "looking back do you wish you had called police?" Krystal quietly and emotionally replies, "yes" Krystal is excused from the stand around 3 pm.
At the end of the day the prosecution called two young men who worked for Patrick Frazee on his ranch as ranch hands. They testified separately but said almost identical stories. The prosecution asked about Thanksgiving week. Kyle Ritchie says that week Patrick Frazee told him and Sam Dygert to move dirt from an area off property to an area that "looked like there was a fire on it." The boys also said Frazee asked them to move a trough to a specific place on the property during Thanksgiving week. Ritchie tells the court the trough was to be filled with wooden pallets. They said after Thanksgiving week when they got to the ranch, Patrick told them he needed help loading rubble from a fire into a trash can and bring it to a waste facility.
According to Krystal Lee, Patrick Frazee burned Kelsey Berreth's body in a black tote box, which he placed inside a trough that had wooden pallets in it. According to the boys, they strategically placed the trough where Patrick told them and filled it with wood. They also identified the burn area, where a burn scar was on the property. The same place Krystal Lee, shown on body camera footage, showed investigators where Patrick allegedly burned Kelsey Berreth's body.
DAY 4: Nov. 6
Lee was overwhelmed with emotion as she explained the gruesome details of how Frazee killed Berreth and how she came out to Colorado to clean up the scene. She started by talking about the love affair she had with Frazee spanning a decade. She then shared details from September of 2018, when she says Frazee asked her to help him kill Kelsey. She claims Frazee asked her three times for help. She says she never followed through making Frazee extremely angry.
Lee claims Frazee told her Berreth's last words were, "please stop."
DAY 3: Nov. 5
Two witnesses in, a familiar face to Patrick Frazee took the stand. Sean Frazee, Patrick's older brother and a Colorado Springs Police Officer testified against his brother today. He touched on the fact that he and Patrick had not been close for about three years. He had only met Kelsey a handful of times as he stated in court today. The prosecution asked Sean about Thanksgiving day 2018. He told the court he took his family to the Frazee ranch in Florissant. When they got there for Thanksgiving dinner, around 2:30 pm, Patrick was not there. It wasn't until about 5 pm Patrick showed up. Sean says he never explained why he was late, and no one asked.
Sean said on December 3rd, Patrick called him to let him know Kelsey was missing. He told Sean Kelsey may have been visiting her grandmother because she was ill. This same instance about her grandmother being sick was used when a message was sent from Kelsey's phone to her employer after she had gone missing. Sean didn't look at his brother during the testimony, but when Sean was excused from the stand he looked over at Patrick, rolled his eyes at him, and walked out of the courtroom.
An investigator with the 4th Judicial District Attorney's office testified today about still pictures that were taken from a surveillance camera from William's Log Cabin Furniture in Woodland Park. Investigator, Stephanie Courtney, was presented with a number of pictures she had looked over and taken from surveillance. She showed that at 1:19 pm on Thanksgiving you see Patrick's truck heading toward Kelsey's townhome and you can notice a black box in the back of the truck. You could not see anything identifiable. The investigator then says at 4:34 pm Patrick's truck is caught on the surveillance form the furniture store, but if you look you can see the black box in the back of the truck had changed positions. You can now see two large silver latches. She showed a comparison of the two pictures, one from earlier and one from later, at the same angle but the box has moved. Investigators believe Patrick killed Kelsey in between that timeframe on Thanksgiving, and place her body in a black box.
A former Woodland Park Police Commander testified about the big changes in the case that happened in early December. Now CBI agent and former Commander, Chris Adams, said on December 4 the Woodland Park Police Department contacted FBI and CBI to help with Kelsey's missing person case. Agent Adams said "It was a gut feeling, things were odd." He was involved in several searches at Kelsey's townhome and Patrick Frazeee's ranch. As he and others on his team investigated phone records they noticed an odd number from Idaho that Patrick had been contacting. Prosecution asked what turned this investigation, Agent Adams replied ,"cellphone records. That's how we find out who Krystal Lee is." He said Krystal Lee came into play as early as Dec 19th in the investigation, just two days before Patrick Frazee was arrested.
We heard from one of the lead investigators on the case today, CBI agent Gregg Slater. He spoke about December when investigators went to Patrick Frazee's home with a search warrant. Slater explained they found custody paperwork in the home. He said the paperwork had never been filed in court, but it was dated for August 2018. Investigators believe a possible motive for Patrick killing Kelsey was custody of their daughter. Along with the physical custody papers, there was a fee agreement with an attorney Patrick had hired to help with the custody papers. Agent Slater also pointed out that Patrick had been paying $700 a month in child support to Kelsey from October 2017 to July 2018. This was not ordered by the court.
DAY 2: Nov. 4
Ten witnesses were called to testify throughout the day today. Cheryl Berreth finished her testimony early in the morning. The next witness was her son, Kelsey's older brother Clint Berreth.
Clint was emotional when he recounted the last time he spoke to Kelsey. He told the court they were close and did everything together growing up. He hadn't hear from Kelsey since mid-November. He told the court he thought she may have been upset with him for canceling Christmas plans. He was scheduled to come to Colorado to visit her during the holidays but had to cancel. Clint said when he heard she hadn't contact their mother, he knew something was wrong.
Another witness called to the stand was Cpl. Dena Currin, a Woodland Park police officer. She was the first officer assigned to the case when Kelsey went missing. She performed a wellness check on Dec. 2, but Kelsey was not there. That same day, she called Patrick Frazee to gain a better understanding of the circumstances. A recording of the phone call was played in court. After the recording, the prosecutors asked if she thought any part of the phone call was odd. The officer replied saying the thing that stood out to her was the lack of concern Frazee had toward Kelsey's disappearance.
We heard from a Verizon store employee who took the stand today, and while it may not seem like a key witness, he had an interaction with Patrick Frazee investigators say they found odd. The employee said on December 11 Patrick went into the Woodland Park Verizon store. That employee remembered Patrick looked nervous when he walked in. According to the witness, the first thin Patrick said to him was "Don't believe what they're saying about me." At this point Kelsey had been missing for almost 3 weeks. The employee tells the court Patrick was concerned about the security on his phone account. He allegedly asked the employee if the other phone on his account was destroyed, would people be able to get information off of it. Patrick had two phones on his account, but he allegedly never said who the other phone belonged to. The employee said with Patricks mannerisms and the odd questions he was asking he decided to contact police.
One thing we hadn't seen before were pictures of Frazee from a neighbor's surveillance. We knew they existed but did not have access. Monday, Chad Mininger, 4th Judicial DA senior investigator, testified about his expertise in technology. He was able to pull several still images of Frazee at Kelsey's townhome on Thanksgiving Day. The neighbor had a security camera facing Kelsey's front door. On the day of Nov. 22, Thanksgiving, Frazee was caught 11 times on the surveillance. We saw the last image of Kelsey ever, around 1:24 p.m. that day. According to the investigator after that picture of Kelsey was taken from the surveillance, there was a three-hour period before the motion sensitive camera was activated again. Around 4:20 in the afternoon you see Frazee leaving the condo with their 1-year-old daughter, but Kelsey is not with them.
DAY 1: Nov. 1
"This is the face of a cold, calculating, manipulative killer." The first words uttered by the prosecution during opening statements Friday. The 4th Judicial District Attorney's Office started off openings with a recap of the case, showing pictures and surveillance to move their opening along. The defense refrained from using any visual aids. Their opening statements centered around their argument that they believe there is no evidence to show the murder happened in Kelsey Berreth's condo. They also argued the prosecution's main witness, Krystal Lee, blamed the crime on Patrick Frazee because she realized it was all falling into her lap.
The prosecution's first witness on the stand was Kelsey Berreth's mother, Cheryl. She stayed composed for the majority of her testimony, but when discussing the last time she heard from her daughter, she did so through tears. Cheryl Berreth recounted when Kelsey and Patrick met, online around Christmas in 2015. She said Kelsey moved to Colorado in May of 2016. According to the mother, Kelsey stayed at Frazee's ranch the first night she moved. She recalls a statement her daughter made about Frazee's mother. Cheryl told the court when Kelsey arrived at the Frazee ranch, Patrick's mother labeled her as a "hooker he picked up from the airport." Cheryl Berreth continued by adding Frazee had a messy relationship with his family.
The last time Cheryl heard from her daughter was Thanksgiving morning. She recalled a phone call she had early in the morning with Kelsey, stating everything was normal. Days went by before she would hear from her again. On Dec. 2nd Cheryl called police to list Kelsey as a missing person. She said, "I had a gut feeling something was wrong."