CBS News exclusive: Friend of woman accused of tampering with evidence in Berreth case speaks out

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TELLER COUNTY, Colo. (KKTV) - The woman who admitted to helping an accused killer hide evidence did so because she was scared, her best friend told CBS News in an exclusive interview.

Michelle Stein told CBS News correspondent Nikki Battiste that Krystal Lee feared what her longtime friend Patrick Frazee would do if she didn't help him cover up the murder of his fiancee, Kelsey Berreth.

"I will just tell you Krystal was very, very scared,” Stein said. “Krystal’s a very level-headed, kind, fun-loving, happy-go-lucky person. She’s a tough cowgirl. But she was absolutely scared and extremely upset.”

Lee knew Frazee killed Berreth, Stein told Battiste.

On Friday, 32-year-old Lee, of Idaho, stood in a Teller County courtroom and pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence tied to the alleged murder of Berreth. Berreth was last seen in Woodland Park on Thanksgiving. While a body has not been found, Frazee is accused of killing her. The case has received nationwide attention.

Lee was crying in court on Friday in Cripple Creek after admitting she moved a cellphone to try and throw off investigators in the case. In a statement, Lee said she learned that Frazee had killed someone.

Lee says she moved "the victim's cellphone" in the days after Thanksgiving to keep it from law enforcement.

Authorities would not elaborate on what connection Lee has with Frazee, but Stein told Battiste Lee and Frazee had known each other for 15 years and once dated. Lee didn't know Frazee was engaged and had a child until recently, Stein said.

Despite their previous relationship, Frazee had turned into somebody frightening, Stein said, claiming Lee told her "she has never seen that kind of evil in anybody."

"What was the reasoning?” asked Battiste after Stein said she believed her friend had “very, very good reasoning for whatever it is she may or may not have done.”

“I can’t really comment completely, but fear, and legitimate fear.”

“That if she didn’t comply with Patrick, he might kill her?”

“Yes, that’s what I believe,” Stein replied.

Lee could be sentenced up to three years in prison. For the time being, she's walking free. She won't be sentenced until Frazee's trial is over. That could be six months from now or up to two years.

Sanders Law is representing Kelsey's family in a federal lawsuit tied to the case and sent 11 News the following statement on Friday:
"The Berreths are thankful to law enforcement and the District Attorneys for continuing to diligently work on the case and bring the facts to light."

THE TIMELINE
- Nov. 22, 2018: Kelsey Berreth was last seen in public on surveillance footage at a Woodland Park grocery store.

- Nov. 25, 2018: Berreth's cell phone pinged in Gooding, Idaho. Police released this information to the public on Dec. 7.

- Dec. 14, 2018: Police execute a search warrant at Frazee's home.

- Dec. 15, 2018: Authorities offer a $25,000 reward for information on the case.

- Dec. 21, 2018: Frazee arrested

- Dec. 22, 2018: Authorities in Idaho announced they discovered possible evidence in the case

- Dec. 27, 2018: A judge ruled the 1-year-old child Berreth and Frazee share would remain in physical custody of Berreth's parents.

-Feb. 4, 2019: A summons is issued for Krystal Lee to appear in Teller County court.

THE CHARGES FRAZEE IS FACING
Information from the court documents obtained by 11 News:

COUNT 1 - MURDER IN THE FIRST DEGREE
On or about November 22, 2018, PATRICK FRAZEE unlawfully, feleniously, after deliberation, and with the intent to cause the death of a person other than himself, caused the death of Kelsey Berreth.

COUNT 2 - SOLICITATION TO COMMIT MURDER IN THE FIRST DEGREE
Between and including September 1, 2018 and November 1, 2018, PATRICK FRAZEE unlawfully and feloniously commanded, induced, entered, or otherwise attempted to persuade another person to commit the felony of murder in the first degree, with intent to promote or facilitate the commission of that crime and under circumstances strongly corroborative of that intent.

COUNT 3-MURDER IN THE FIRST DEGREE
On or about November 22, 2018, PATRICK FRAZEE unlawfully and feloniously, acting alone or with one or more persons, committed or attempted to commit Robbery and, in the course of or in furtherance of that crime, or in the immediate flight therefrom, the death of Kelsey Berreth, a person, other than one of the participants, was cause by anyone.

COUNT 4-SOLICITATION TO COMMIT MURDER IN THE FIRST DEGREE
Between and including September 1, 2018 and November 1, 2018, PATRICK FRAZEE unlawfully and feloniously commanded, induced, entered, or otherwise attempted to persuade another person to commit the felony of murder in the first degree, with intent to promote or facilitate the commission of that crime and under circumstances strongly corroborative of that intent.

COUNT 5-SOLICITATION TO COMMIT MURDER IN THE FIRST DEGREE
Between and including September 1, 2018 and November 1, 2018 PATRICK FRAZEE unlawfully and feloniously commanded, induced, entreated, or otherwise attempted to persuade another person to commit the felony of murder in the first degree, with intent to promote or facilitate the commission of that crime and under circumstances strongly corroborative of that intent.

The charges listed on the court papers also say Frazee, possibly along with at least one other person, allegedly tried to rob Berreth and she was killed afterward.