DENVER – Jury selection is expected to wrap up Friday, and opening statements should underway, in Patrick Frazee’s murder trial in which he is accused of killing his fiancee Kelsey Berreth.
The three-week trial in Cripple Creek got underway with jury selection on Monday, and the pool has been whittled down over the week. Twelve jurors and four alternates are expected to be seated on Friday, after which opening statements would begin.
Frazee, 33, faces eight charges — including first-degree murder, tampering with a deceased body and solicitation — in Berreth’s Thanksgiving 2018 disappearance. Her body has never been found but she is presumed dead.
Berreth went missing on Thanksgiving and her mother reported her missing on Dec. 2, asking police for a welfare check since she had not heard from her daughter for several days.
Almost a month after her disappearance, Frazee was arrested for investigation of first-degree murder. Police also announced they no longer believed Berreth was alive. Frazee was formally charged on Dec. 31. He faces two counts of first-degree murder, three counts of solicitation, one count of tampering with a deceased body and two crime of violence sentence enhancers. On May 24, 2019, he pleaded not guilty to murdering Berreth. He will not face the death penalty.
The investigation found that Frazee asked Krystal Lee Kenney, his past girlfriend who lives in Idaho, to help him.
Kenney was formally charged with one felony count of tampering with physical evidence. She pleaded guilty to the charge and as part of the plea deal, agreed to testify in Frazee’s trial. She won’t be sentenced until Frazee’s trial is complete.
On Feb. 20, Frazee’s arrest affidavit was released to the public. The document contained many details on how Kenney and Frazee allegedly planned to kill Berreth and dispose of her body. Frazee tried to convince Kenney to kill Berreth, but Kenney backed out each time, according to the affidavit.
According to investigators, on Thanksgiving Day 2018, Frazee blindfolded Berreth and asked her to smell a scented candle before beating her to death with a baseball bat in her home. Afterward, he called Kenney and instructed her to come to the home because she “had a mess to clean up,” according to the affidavit. He allegedly put Berreth’s body in a black plastic tote at a ranch on top of a haystack.
Kenney arrived at the home two days later and found what she described as “a horrific scene” at the residence. She told investigators it took hours to clean the apartment.
Afterward, Kenney and Frazee drove to the ranch to pick up the body and continued to Frazee’s home in Florissant, where they put the tote carrying Berreth’s body in a trough, the baseball bat and some other items and set it on fire using motor oil, gasoline and wood, according to the affidavit.
Search warrants were released to the public in March and detail how investigators were able to piece together evidence —including bloody sheets and teeth — to charge Frazee and Kenney in connection to Berreth’s death.
Frazee and Berreth had a 1-year-old together and the young girl is in Berreth’s parent’s custody . An amended complaint filed in February by Berreth’s parents’ attorney claimed that Frazee killed Berreth because he wanted full custody of their daughter.
In September, Denver7 learned that Frazee’s attorneys plan to shift the blame of Berreth’s death from him to Kenney. They plan to use the general denial defense, which requires the state to prove that Frazee is guilty beyond reasonable doubt, according to KOAA . Their efforts will focus on poking holes in the prosecutor’s case.
Denver7 and Scripps will have reporters in court Friday, though Judge Scott Sells has barred live reporting from the courtroom or court property, so updates will only be released intermittently.