CRIPPLE CREEK, Colo. — Prosecutors' star witness in the Patrick Frazee murder trial returned to the witness stand Thursday morning in Teller County court to continue her testimony of how Frazee asked her to help him kill his fiancee, and how he made her clean up the murder scene afterward.
The witness, Krystal Lee Kenney, said Thursday that Frazee’s and Kelsey Berreth’s 1-year-old daughter was present for her mother’s murder. Prosecutors walked her back to December 2018, when she toured Frazee's home, Nash Ranch and Berreth's home with investigators.
Later in the day, as Frazee's attorney cross-examined her, he worked to show that Kenney had multiple opportunities to tell authorities or someone else who could help of Frazee's plans but never did, and questioned her about how she was able to receive a plea deal before giving a formal statement to investigators.
Frazee, 33, of Florissant, is accused of murdering Berreth, his 29-year-old fiancée, on Thanksgiving Day 2018 in Woodland Park. He is also accused of soliciting Kenney, an Idaho resident whom he had dated, to help him carry out the murder.
He faces eight charges, including first-degree murder, tampering with a deceased body and solicitation. While he pleaded not guilty to the charges, Kenney took a plea deal, pleading guilty to a tampering charge and agreeing to testify at Frazee's trial.
Here is Denver7's coverage from previous days of the trial:
Day 1 (Nov. 1, 2019): Prosecutor calls Patrick Frazee 'calculated manipulator,' but defense says 'facts don't make sense'
Day 2 (Nov. 4, 2019): Patrick Frazee murder trial: Family, police describe suspicions after Kelsey Berreth’s disappearance
Day 3 (Nov. 5, 2019): Patrick Frazee trial: Defense questions timeline, lack of black tote in surveillance photos
Day 4 (Nov. 6, 2019): Patrick Frazee murder trial: Krystal Kenney recounts cleanup of Kelsey Berreth murder scene
Day 5 (Nov. 7, 2019): Patrick Frazee murder trial: Defense questions why Kenney never alerted anyone to murder plot
Day 6 (Nov. 8, 2019): Patrick Frazee murder trial: ‘I figured out a way to kill her,' friend testifies Frazee told him
Day 7 (Nov. 12, 2019): Patrick Frazee murder trial: Frazee's friend testified he said Berreth was 'never coming back'
Day 8 (Nov. 13, 2019): Patrick Frazee murder trial: Berreth's coworkers describe her as quiet, sweet, loving to her newborn
Day 9 (Nov. 14, 2019): Frazee trial: CBI agent says he doesn't know where investigation would be without Kenney's testimony
Day 10 (Nov. 15, 2019): Patrick Frazee murder trial: Ex-inmate says Frazee asked him to kill witnesses, including Kenney
Day 11 (Nov. 18, 2019): Did Patrick Frazee murder Kelsey Berreth? Jury deliberating following closing arguments
Day 11 (Nov. 18, 2019): Jury finds Patrick Frazee guilty of murdering fiancée Kelsey Berreth last Thanksgiving
Kenney describes Berreth townhome, says Berreth’s daughter was present for murder
On Wednesday, Kenney took the stand and outlined her version of the alleged plot to kill Berreth, when and how Frazee allegedly committed the murder, how she says she was forced by Frazee to clean up the gruesome scene, and what happened in the weeks after the cleanup that led FBI and Colorado Bureau of Investigation agents to her home in Idaho.
Prosecutors picked up with questioning of Kenney on Thursday morning at 10:30 a.m. Court was expected to start earlier in the day, but Frazee was sick that morning and Kenney wasn’t feeling well either. Frazee took medicine and was feeling good enough for the trial to go on, the judge said.
Frazee wore a collared button-down shirt and khakis on Thursday, while Kenney wore a sweater and skirt. Judge Scott Sells said that he received information that some members of the public were trying to record portions of the trial, so he modified the decorum order to require members of the public to turn their phone off entirely, lest there be “a severe consequence.” The media decorum rules remain the same.
Prosecutor Jennifer Viehman was the first to question Kenney on Thursday. She asked Kenney to back up to Dec. 17, 2018, when she was visited by the FBI and CBI at her home in Idaho, the subsequent statement she provided to authorities in Colorado on Dec. 20, and the tour of Nash Ranch, the Frazee ranch and Berreth’s home on Dec. 21.
Kenney said it was not easy to provide the statement but said she wanted to because she couldn’t live with what she knew. She further said in court Thursday that it was hard to discuss the testimony in court.
Viehman pulled up several photo exhibits of items used during the plot and of some of the scenes of the crime, including Frazee’s truck and Berreth’s townhome and vehicles.
She said that after bagging up six bags of trash and items during the cleanup at Berreth’s home, she placed them to the left of Berreth’s sedan. Kenney was also shown photos of the inside of Berreth’s home and described the blood that was spattered across various parts of the interior.
Further photos showed the locations where she found the trash bags, where she got the cleaning supplies and other items inside the apartment.
Viehman asked Kenney about where Berreth and Frazee’s daughter, Kaylee, was when Frazee allegedly killed Berreth. She said he told her that the baby was in her jumper in the back room when he hit Berreth in the head with a baseball bat. Kenney wept as she recounted that conversation and as she was shown photos of Kaylee in the jumper and some of the other items from the home.
She testified that wipe marks on sofa cushions and other items were caused by the bleach and Windex she used to clean the apartment. She pointed out that she is in one of the photos, along with law enforcement officers, and was pointing out where she found a tooth during the Dec. 21 tour. Kenney told Viehman that the photos show how she left the townhome after cleaning and not how she initially saw it.
As Viehman continued to walk her through the photos, Kenney pointed out the places she purposely left blood spatter in the hopes that investigators might find it, including on the back of a cedar chest near the fireplace and on both the rock face and wood paneling of the fireplace.
Kenney said, as she did Wednesday, that it took her about four hours to clean the inside of Berreth’s townhome. She said, again, she parked in the alley, grabbed the bags from near Berreth’s car, put them in her car and left. She reiterated that she went to Sonic and then to the Frazee Ranch afterward.
She told the court she believes she was at Frazee’s ranch for about three or four hours after cleaning before she went back to Berreth’s townhome to send the text from Berreth’s phone to her mother. She reiterated the timeline of events she discussed Wednesday about how she and Frazee then went to a Florissant gas station and then drove to Nash Ranch to get the black tote that contained the bat allegedly used to kill Berreth and possibly her body.
The tours of Frazee and Nash ranches
Kenney said that on the same day she went on the tour of Berreth’s home with authorities, she also took police to Frazee’s ranch in Florissant as well as Nash Ranch.
Prosecutor Viehman submitted a video from a body camera to show the court.
In the video, Krystal was seen talking with police, including Colorado Bureau of Investigations Agent Gregg Slater. Police were seen looking at the house and the barn. A law enforcement officer, possibly Slater, could be heard saying he thought the time was about 8:30 a.m.
Kenney was wearing a black jacket and black sunglasses in the video. Her hair was in a ponytail.
Frazee watched the video with interest from his seat in the courtroom. Kenney stared down and didn’t watch.
In the video, Slater asked Kenney to describe the black tote, which she did, including details about the clasps and hinged lid. When asked where Frazee allegedly burned it, she said it was in a round aluminum water trough without a bottom.
She pointed out where she had first parked when she got to Frazee’s ranch on Nov. 24, noting that she got out and talked with Frazee for 60 to 90 minutes. He told her he needed to do chores and tend to Kaylee.
In the video, Kenney told Slater that Frazee had given her Berreth’s phone before she drove to Woodland Park, then back to a Conoco in Florissant. She further described how she and Frazee drove between Nash Ranch, Woodland Park and the Frazee ranch.
They then started to walk toward where Kenney had parked that day and she pointed out the burn pit area.
When asked if the discolored dirt has changed since she last saw it, Kenney said she didn’t see a major difference. She pointed out a nearby container and said it was identical to the black tote Berreth’s body was allegedly burned in. Kenney also showed Slater where the trough had been. She said she knew it came from somewhere on his property.
She said she brought the trash bags from Berreth’s home, containing items that were bloodied, to add to the fire. There were two white garbage bags and four black ones, she said. Kenney said she was present when Frazee first started the fire. In the video, she was seen showing authorities where Frazee got the wood from.
There was a brief break when the video was paused because the judge had heard a report that somebody was drawing a sketch in the courtroom. Adam Stiegerwald, one of Frazee’s attorneys, identified a man who was called up to the stand and said he was drawing and taking notes. The judge had denied a sketch artist for the trial on Oct. 31. Deputies were directed by the judge to rip out the sketches and they did so, removing multiple pieces of paper from the notebook. The judge warned if it happened again, the man would be held in contempt of court with a sentence that could land him six months in jail.
More deputies were brought into the courtroom to watch over those in attendance after this incident.
Around 11:45 a.m., they resumed playing the body camera footage.
In addition to the wood, Kenney said Frazee also had gas and motor oil ready. Kenney took authorities to where Frazee had them sitting out that day. Kenney said she only saw one red gas can.
Kenney said Frazee put green tin roof pieces on top of the fire. She showed authorities where those tin pieces were located, though they were different sizes than she remembered.
At one point, Slater could be heard on the video saying that Kenney mentioned Sheila Frazee, Patrick Frazee’s mother, came outside to look at the fire from the deck.
Kenney said Frazee poured gasoline into a “mineral bucket” and tossed that on the fire as well. Frazee put the entire black tote into the fire, she said. She left after that, so she didn’t see it completely burn, she said.
After Kenney said Frazee used a single match to light the trough’s contents on fire, the video ended.
Viehman then introduced a second video.
This follow-up video showed Slater talking with Kenney. She described everything she took from Berreth’s home during the cleanup and detailed what she was wearing at the time. She put it all in trash bags, she said. She had been wearing a white jump suit that day, she said, with a gray sweater underneath and a black pair of leggings. Kenney said she put her socks, underwear and bra, and hairnet and shoe covers into the trash bags as well.
She said the following items were also in the trash bags:
- Two big stuffed animals (including a white horse)
- Wooden building blocks
- Books, including Berreth’s Bible or some other religious-looking book
- Plastic cookie cutters
In the video from 9 a.m. on Dec. 21, Slater asked Kenney if she remembered if any items survived the fire that she took from Berreth’s home, and Kenney said she didn’t know what was in some of the Hobby Lobby bags she took from the home. They also discussed what cleaning supplies Kenney used.
Viehman noted that Kenney pointed out in the video specific areas where things were taken and moved.
The state then brought in a black tote, which Kenney said looked exactly like the tote from Frazee’s property. The state also brought in a cardboard box. Inside, Kenney said, appeared to be the gas can seen in the video which Frazee allegedly used to light the fire.
Amid tears, Kenney said it’s the faded, red gas can she saw.
The court broke for lunch just after noon and was set to be back from recess at 1 p.m.
Prosecutors wrap questioning of Kenney
After lunch, Kenney was back on the stand and again reiterated that when she came to the agreement with the district attorney’s office to plead guilty in the case, she knew she faced a potential prison sentence and agreed to testify truthfully at Frazee’s trial.
She confirmed to prosecutors that images shown of the Nash Ranch showed the place where she and Frazee went to get the black tote that Frazee had left on the haystack and walked the court back through how Frazee moved the tote into his truck with a tractor. She said she remembered holding a ladder as Frazee climbed up a haystack to move the black tote to where he could grab it with his tractor.
Kenney said that she could see Frazee’s house from where he burned the tote and saw his mother, Sheila, come out of the house and onto the deck after the fire had started. Kenney said Sheila came out after Frazee used tin to try to quell the height of the flames. She didn't know if Sheila saw her, she said.
Viehman showed more pictures of the ranch grounds and Kenney again reiterated what she said Wednesday happened there that day. She asked Kenney if one of the totes seen in a photo is the same one brought into court Thursday, to which Kenney responded that she believed it was.
She said the fire was still burning when she and Frazee went to retrieve her car at a Conoco station, but that she looked once at the tote as the fire was burning. She said she only looked briefly and saw "rubble" and a “burning heap” and that the tote had started to melt. She testified Thursday that Frazee did not tell her what he was going to do with the remains of the fire.
Kenney said she remembered sending texts from Berreth’s phone around 7:30 a.m. the next morning with Frazee because Frazee “wanted to make it look like she was still alive and was having normal conversation,” and that he told her what to text, which was along the lines of, "Call me when you guys are awake."
Per his instructions, she drove to Berreth's condo to send these texts so the cell phone would ping off the Woodland Park cell tower, she said. She reiterated her Wednesday testimony about turning the phone off and on at various times and about Frazee calling her on Berreth’s phone and her being uncomfortable with that and asking him to call her own phone instead.
At one point, Kenney testified, Frazee told her the fire burned all night and into the morning and that "it was really hard" for him, she said. She said he told her that he was going to put the remnants either in the river or take them to the dump. She said he had the two ranch hands who were working on his ranch before Frazee started the fire and could help him load the remnants, but she wasn’t sure if they knew what they were doing.
Kenney testified that Frazee told her he had “used Kelsey for what she was worth," which he said meant she'd run errands, water the horses and other duties along those lines. She started to cry in court, and said she told Frazee she “couldn’t kill Kelsey and I wasn’t going to.” She said she could perform those everyday tasks like cleaning, cooking, moving hay and feed the horses, but she could not do what he was asking of her. She said he knew she could at least clean, because she used to clean homes and had cleaned for him before.
Finally, Viehman asked her: “The person that told you he had beaten Kelsey Berreth with a baseball bat — is that person present in the courtroom?"
“Yes,” Kenney answered and pointed to Frazee. He didn't react.
Prosecutors then ended their questioning.
Defense cross-examines Kenney, asks why she never told police
Defense attorney Adam Stiegerwald started the cross-examination of Kenney by asking her if the reason she pleaded guilty to a tampering with evidence charge, which is a class 6 felony (the least serious felony ranking in Colorado), is because she knew that she moved Berreth’s cell phone in order to try and impair the investigation.
He worked throughout his cross-examination to have Kenney show that she had multiple opportunities to alert authorities – or anyone else – about Frazee’s alleged plans and how she was able to plead guilty to tampering with evidence before giving a formal statement to authorities.
He noted that she did not plead guilty for the cleanup, for sending messages from Berreth’s phone or for destroying it – pointing out that each of those acts could have earned her extra time. He noted that she was not charged with being an accessory to the murder, which is a class 4 felony and carries a much more severe penalty upon conviction or a guilty plea.
Kenney told Stiegerwald that the steps she took were part of a plan she made with Frazee. He continued to ask her questions about all the other parts of the plan she went through with — driving to Berreth’s house with a metal pipe, in particular — and noted she had not been charged with attempted murder. Three attempted murder charges could add up to between 48 to 144 years in prison, he said.
“You were looking at, essentially, the rest of your life in prison. Did you know that?” Siegerwald asked, to which Kenney replied she did not.
"Your worst-case scenario is three years in prison," he said. She started to cry and said, "yes."
He continued grilling her about how prosecutors allowed her to plead guilty to the tampering charge – and not more severe charges – and how she could end up only with probation. Kenney said she doesn't know if she's planning on asking for probation.
Stiegerwald then dove into why Kenney did not notify Berreth or her family about Frazee’s alleged plan if she knew about it for so long, and why she told the court she was testifying against him if she said earlier Thursday that it was because Berreth’s family deserved to know the truth. At no point between Nov. 22 and Dec. 20 did she notify Berreth's family, he said.
He had her note that she first came to Colorado in September 2018 after making the coffee-poisoning plan with Frazee and detail the steps they discussed. Kenney told him that Frazee had a kind of power over her to get her to do things she did not want to do.
Stiegerwald had her note that when she went to Berreth’s townhome with the coffee – the first meeting between Kenney and Berreth – she could have instead drove two more miles to the police department, called 911 or left town instead. Did Frazee have power over her to go to Berreth’s instead of doing those other things, he asked. Kenney replied, “Yes.”
She explained that she wanted to give the coffee to Berreth to get "the measure" of her.
Kenney reiterated that she gave Berreth a fake name during the meeting and lied to Berreth about the purpose of the meeting and Stiegerwald continued to ask her why she told no one about the plan – including her aunt who was inside the car during her meeting with Berreth – on the 12-hour drive back to Idaho or once she had arrived home.
Stiegerwald then pushed her harder on her claims that she felt endangered by Frazee, even though they were about 750 miles apart when she was in Idaho. She reiterated that she testified that she was scared Frazee had "people" in Idaho, but Stiegerwald pointed out that Frazee never went to Idaho and that she came to Colorado 10 times instead.
He asked her again: The reason she did not call law enforcement after the coffee plan was because she was scared?
“I didn’t call law enforcement because I didn’t think he was capable,” Kenney testified.
He asked her why she came back to Colorado in October if she was still scared of Frazee, and why she didn’t call police but called Frazee instead. She said again they met up and he talked about “his intention for me to kill Kelsey Berreth.” He says she took the pipe, drove to Berreth’s house instead of stopping at the police station on the way, and when she got scared, went back to Frazee’s and spent most of the day taking care of his and Berreth’s child.
Stiegerwald tried to juxtapose Kenney claiming she was afraid of Frazee and a week later making the drive back to Colorado, allegedly with a baseball bat.
“You’re not coming for some kind of softball tournament," Stiegerwald said. "You brought that baseball bat to kill Kelsey Berreth.”
“I never was going to kill Kelsey Berreth with a baseball bat,” Kenney responded.
He continued to grill her about when she sat outside Berreth’s home with the bat, and what her thoughts were at the time.
“I thought about the situation I was in,” Kenney responded. “I did not think about killing Kelsey.”
But Stiegerwald said, “You went back to his house, that’s how afraid you were?”
She responded, “Yes.”
She said during the last October visit she told Frazee she was not going to commit the murder. She also told Stiegerwald when questioned that she never saw anyone watching her or her family, despite saying she feared people were.
She said that after not hearing from Frazee between Oct. 21 and Nov. 3, she hoped he had dropped the idea. But Stiegerwald pointed out that was when he called her when she was with her family, and she did not call law enforcement, but instead got away from her family so she could talk to him. He had her admit she didn’t try to record the call or have anyone listen in and that she checked plane tickets afterward.
Stiegerwald, though questioning, had Kenney admit that she then spoke with Frazee again the day before Thanksgiving – thus making it four conversations with Frazee over the past two months. But she denied that the only thing that they had talked about was killing Berreth.
He then questioned her about the talk the day before Thanksgiving of a “cleanup.” She said “yes” to questions about how she said she couldn’t come at first because she had a house full of people and not because she didn’t want to be part of the plot, and that after that conversation, it would be two days before she arrived to Colorado after agreeing to come back down.
She said she thought that maybe it was just another hoop she had to jump through in order to show Frazee she was loyal. Stiegerwald asked her how she believed it was a trick if she decided to buy a hair net, rubber gloves and bleach and to bring the full body suit, and why instead of calling any family, friends or police, she instead talked to Frazee during the drive down.
About halfway to Woodland Park — around Wellington, Utah — Frazee called. It was at that point that Kenney realized something had likely already happened, she said.
She said that was when she realized it was not a hoop or a setup and testified: “I believe I said it seemed like something really had happened.” Stiegerwald then had her admit that she drove six more hours to Frazee’s ranch, stopped and got the keys to Berreth’s townhome and drove there.
She told Stiegerwald, going back through her earlier testimony, that she thought the scene was really bad once she got inside and that she thought she should clean it so Berreth’s mother wouldn’t have to see the gruesome scene. He has her note that she did not think that was the time to call police or someone who could help instead of cleaning up, and that she instead chose to put on the full body suit, shoe covers and hair net and carry on with the cleanup.
“That’s the story that you had to tell those agents to get your plea deal?” Stiegerwald asked her.
“I had to tell them the truth,” Kenney said, after a long pause.
Stiegerwald noted that the plea agreement said Kenney was aware of the murder and that agents and prosecutors believed she didn’t participate in the murder or know how Frazee was allegedly going to kill Berreth on Thanksgiving Day, and that Kenney knew she could possibly avoid jail once she signed the plea agreement.
“You knew exactly what needed to be said to get this deal?” Stiegerwald queried. “The truth,” Kenney responded.
Stiegerwald asked her about leaving blood spots in the apartment on purpose, which she previously testified was the case, and why she didn’t want to be discovered earlier, after the coffee plan, or after she became concerned that Frazee had killed Berreth while on her way down – or any of the other instances she could have given the information up, including when the FBI called for the first time.
Stiegerwald had Kenney admit she lied to the FBI the first time and noted again that she claimed she wanted to be caught. She testified that when agents came to her house, she said she would cooperate but said she did not tell them about any of the clues.
He again noted that the first time she talked to law enforcement was after she received the plea agreement and a letter and bullet points outlining what she needed to talk about, which she confirmed.
Stiegerwald then began to question her about things she testified about Wednesday and Thursday which he claimed was the first time she had discussed such matters.
She said that the story about Frazee fantasizing about having a son around with her was the first time she had told that story. She also said that she first told the story about giving Frazee a stuffed animal for Kaylee in court Wednesday and said she never told either story to law enforcement.
Stiegerwald asked if when she said that Frazee “wasn’t as excited as she hoped” about their unborn child, if she meant that Frazee was implying she should have an abortion, to which she responded she did not.
Kenney said she has told the truth for the past year, to which Stiegerwald ended his cross-examination: “For the past 10 hours, you’re telling the truth. And it just so happens to be what you needed to say to stay out of prison."
Redirect questions for Kenney from prosecutors
Upon redirect, Kenney said that she didn’t tell Frazee about the abortion because she thought he would be mad at her and that the No. 1 facet of the plea agreement was to tell the truth and provide a full and complete statement.
"And did you do that?" Viehman asked.
"Yes, I have," Kenney answered.
Kenney said she never attempted to kill Berreth nor try to put drugs in her coffee. She said she had not read any witness reports when she spoke to law enforcement in December and February and that she was not aware that law enforcement already knew about the text messages and phone calls that authorities had tracked.
She again said, as she did Wednesday, that she only felt safe once investigators showed up to her home in Idaho: “I knew I would be able to talk,” she said, adding that she knew she was in trouble and didn’t want anyone else to get involved before then and get them in trouble too. She also said she felt from Frazee at that time because police officers were in her home.
Kenney told prosecutors she was being truthful about leaving evidence behind because she wanted to be caught, that she was not in the state of Colorado on Nov. 22, and when asked if it was the truth that Frazee killed Berreth, she said: “Yes, I believe so.”
When asked if she wished she had called police sooner, she said she didn’t think anyone would believe her, but looking back on it, she wished she would have called them earlier.
Questions from the jury
After the redirect, the judge asked Kenney questions submitted by the jury.
One asked how many times she entered and exited Berreth's home. Kenney said she went in and out only once.
To answer another question, she said Frazee suggested buying the burner phone that she used, and that she only went back to Woodland Park to send the texts from Berreth’s phone because Frazee asked her to do it.
The jurors also asked her about what time she first started to fear for her safety around Frazee. Kenney responded that it was when he became mad that nothing happened after she brought Berreth coffee.
Frazee’s attorney asked her how many burner phones she had, to which she said she had two. Prosecutors asked her what she did with the second. She responded that she used it to text Berreth to set up a coffee meeting, but Berreth declined the offer. She said she burned the phone after she left on Oct. 21.
Kenney was excused for the day around 3 p.m. — though she was ordered that she must stay available to the court — and prosecutors called the two ranch hands that Kenney said help move the remnants of the torched tote.
Two ranch hands to Frazee explain their duties before, after Thanksgiving
Court resumed at 3:26 p.m. Thursday and the prosecution asked for 18-year-old Kyle Ritchie to come to the witness stand.
4th Judicial District Attorney Dan May asks if Ritchie knows how Frazee is, and Ritchie confirms that he worked as a ranch hand for him starting sometime in June or July of 2018 through November 2018. He said he met Frazee through a family friend two years ago.
He said he was the only ranch hand for three to four weeks, before Frazee hired his longtime best friend, Samuel Dygert, whom the prosecution would call to the witness stand after his testimony. They were in charge of cleaning the property, fixing odds and ends and working on the fencing, Ritchie said. He said he met Sheila Frazee, Patrick Frazee’s mother, and 1-year-old Kaylee a few times, but never met Berreth.
Ritchie said during the week of Thanksgiving, Frazee asked Dygert and Ritchie to move a rusted out horse trough — meaning it had multiple holes from rust in the bottom — to a different, but nearby, location on the property.
They were also asked to put wooden pallets in the trough, Ritchie said. He said he doesn’t remember Frazee telling him why.
Sometime after Thanksgiving, Ritchie showed up for work and noticed that the pallets had been burned. He said he didn’t think anything of this and that “it was just another day at work.”
He said he talked with Frazee about the burned wood, and the man mentioned he had burned the pallets and that the fire had gotten “decently big.” He said Frazee said the fire was about 13 feet tall. He burned deer and elk antlers in it, too, which Ritchie said he was bummed out about because he wanted the antlers.
That same day, Frazee asked Ritchie to put the trough, which had cooled by the afternoon, into the back of a cattle trailer. They put more items to haul away in that trailer before bringing it to a Teller County Waste, a garbage collection service. Ritchie said he didn’t remember when they went to the waste station.
May asked about Frazee’s request for the ranch hands the week of the Thanksgiving and Ritchie said he was asked to move some dirt from one area of the property to another to cover some “spots” where Frazee had burned the trough. He said this was sometime before Thanksgiving, but couldn’t pin down the exact date. He said he got dirt from near the first bend of the ranch’s driveway and brought it up closer to the house and barn, where the trough had been. He did this at Frazee’s direction because Frazee wanted the area to “look normal,” Ritchie said.
Before dumping the dirt, Ritchie cleaned the burn area and used magnets to pick up between 100 and 150 nails to avoid any flat tires, he said.
May brought up a picture from the Frazee property that showed Frazee’s truck as well as dirt in the foreground. Part of the dirt area was a different color and when asked, Ritchie said that was where he’d spread dirt to cover the burn area around Thanksgiving. He described the dirt as tanner or lighter than that of the surrounding area. He also pointed out a gasoline can in the picture.
In court, May showed Ritchie a gas cannister, which the teenager said looked similar to the one in the photograph. Then May pulled out a black tote similar to the one the prosecution believes Berreth’s body was transported and later burned in. Ritchie confirmed that he’d seen those types of black totes on the property before but didn’t know what they were used for.
The district attorney then pulled up another picture, this time showing what had been under the uncovered burn area. Parts of the ground were grayish and appeared wet. It was starkly different than the surrounding ground. Ritchie confirms the photo showed what they covered up.
He said when he came back to work after Thanksgiving, he noticed a silver, metal garbage can about two or three feet away from the trough. The lid was on, so he never looked inside, he said, but he assumed there were ashes from whatever Frazee had burned. Frazee didn’t tell him what was inside, he said. He helped Frazee load the garbage can into the back of his truck — he estimated it was between 40 and 50 pounds — and never saw it again, he said.
During the cross-examination, defense attorney Ashley Fridovich Porter asked if Ritchie recalled talking with a detective at the Woodland Park Police Department. Ritchie confirmed he talked with Det. Mike McDaniel for 30 to 45 minutes.
During that time, Ritchie said he knew Frazee was a suspect for a crime in connection to a missing person, so he felt it was important to tell the detective everything he knew.
Ritchie also explained that he only saw ash in the bottom of the trough when he arrived to work after Thanksgiving Day. He said he didn’t see or smell burned plastic.
During a redirect, May asked if Ritchie would make up anything to get Frazee in trouble. He said no. When asked, “Do you still like him today?” the defense objected, and the question was sustained.
The second ranch hand, Samuel Dygert, was the last person to take to the witness stand Thursday afternoon. He confirmed that he had worked with Ritchie on Frazee’s ranch from September 2018 until November 2018.
Dygert said he recalled moving the trough to a horse trailer after something was burned in it. That day, he said he didn’t know there had been a fire. Frazee later mentioned a fire to him but didn’t specify that it had been in the trough, he said.
Frazee told him that the fire was pretty large, and he had to put it out because the flames were so high, he said.
Ritchie and Dygert then covered the burned area with dirt from an area by the driveway, he said.
They then loaded up trash, including the trough, to take to Teller County Waste and a scrap metal place in Colorado Springs. Dygert said he went with Frazee on both of these trips, but Ritchie didn’t join them to the scrap metal place. During one of those trips Dygert met Frazee’s brother at a gas station, which the brother had mentioned in his previous testimony.
Dygert said they made this trip around Thanksgiving, but he couldn’t remember exactly when in relation to the holiday.
There was no cross-examination and Dygert was excused.
Court ended early Thursday afternoon, around 4:35 p.m.
On Friday, two K-9 handlers whose dogs are trained in finding decomposing human remains testified their dogs hit on objects that were tied to Kelsey Berreth's murder at her townhome and Nash Ranch. Click here to read more from Day 6 of the trial.
Prosecutors decided in July to not file a motion in pursuit of capital punishment, meaning Frazee will not face the death penalty in this case if he is found guilty.
Live tweeting and live reporting is not allowed in the courtroom, per a court decorum. The trial is expected to last three weeks.
The next day — Friday — two K-9 handlers whose dogs are trained in finding decomposing human remains testified their dogs hit on objects that were tied to Berreth's murder at her townhome and Nash Ranch on day 6. Click here to read about day 6 of the trial.