CRIPPLE CREEK, Colo. (KRDO) - In bombshell testimony Friday, prosecutors presented evidence that Patrick Frazee asked a cellmate with gang relations for "hits" on witnesses, including Krystal Lee.
Prosecutors say the inmate was in custody with Frazee between September and October; Frazee asked to put a hit on Krystal Lee and many of the other witnesses, including some of his friends that have testified in this case.
More than a dozen different letters were written on paper towels between the two; Frazee gave descriptions of the witnesses, their ages, where they lived, phone numbers, and other identifying information to put a hit on them. Frazee said he would help the inmate post bond to get out of jail of he helped murder the witnesses, the inmate testified.
Frazee made statements on paper saying: "They all need to disappear, unseen until November 22" and "I'm really nervous." Frazee told the inmate to use a fake name while setting up the hits, and he underlined the words "Flush when done" on one of the notes.
According to the inmate's testimony, Frazee said "I'd really like to see Krystal with a bullet in her head ... p*** on her and s*** on her face, f****** dirty a** b****, her and Michelle [Stein]." He also claimed to the inmate that prosecutors were "coaching [Lee] of the circumstantial evidence to match up."
The inmate didn't come forward to confirm this account until Monday.
Friday is expected to be the last day of testimony in Frazee's murder trial for allegedly killing his fiancee, Kelsey Berreth, last Thanksgiving. In the past two weeks, we've heard from multiple witnesses, including Frazee's former girlfriend, Krystal Lee. Lee pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence after she told prosecutors she helped Frazee clean a bloody crime scene where Berreth was murdered.
After returning from lunch, the prosecution said the state is resting its case, and the defense called no witnesses. The jurors are set to be dismissed Friday afternoon, and they'll begin deliberating on Monday.
Expert says Kelsey Berreth was hit with bat more than 10 times
An expert in crime scene reconstruction testified that Kelsey Berreth was beaten with a bat about 10-15 times or more, based on blood spatter evidence inside the Woodland Park townhome where she was reportedly killed.
"People aren't easy to kill, they're very resilient," testified Jonathyn Priest, a bloodstain analyst. Priest, a 31-year veteran of the Denver Police Department with more than two decades in investigations, was questioned by District Attorney Dan May for his analysis of the crime scene. He said it's possible Berreth made a last plea for help before succumbing to her injuries.
Lee had testified that Frazee told her Berreth's last words were "Please stop." She also testified that Frazee used a baseball bat to beat Berreth to death in her own townhome after tricking her into a blindfold.
Priest said the blood staining inside the townhome was "enough to tell me this is a crime scene." He pointed to evidence of force, with a radiating pattern of blood.
"The greater the force, the smaller the drop," Priest said. Prosecutors already heard testimony from investigators who found small blood drops on various objects throughout the home, and they also pointed to large pooling of blood underneath the floorboards.
Priest also said he saw evidence that "some hard object made contact in two separate locations in a very close area" on the floor and that "there are indentations on the hardwood." He said the marks had an elongated area with a curve to them, which would indicate that the object wasn't just a metal pipe.
Priest said he couldn't estimate a maximum number of strikes from the object, but he said it was "a substantial number ... 10-15 somewhere in there, could be more."
He added that despite the cleaning efforts that Lee testified to, investigators were still able to find spatter stains indicating force.
"Nothing here tells me this was accidental," Priest said.
We'll have more on this story throughout the day.
On Thursday, prosecutors used Kevin Clark a Senior Criminal Intelligence Analyst with Colorado Springs Police Department to layout a timeline for jurors on the evidence presented to them thus far. In the last two weeks, the 4th Judicial prosecution team has used FBI cellular analysis, serology and DNA experts who told the court, Kelsey Berreth's blood was found in several places in her Woodland Park apartment, and that her cellphone was traveled with Patrick Frazee's mobile device after she reportedly died.
Mary Longmire the caseworker with Teller County Department of Human Services who spoke with Patrick in regards to the custody of his toddler, Kaylee said he told her, he and Kelsey texted for days after Thanksgiving.
A download of Frazee's phone showed those text messages between him and Berreth exist, but FBI Special Agent Kevin Hoyland showed maps to the jury, the two phones were together when the text messages were sent.
On Wednesday, Colorado Bureau of Investigation DNA Analyst Caitlin Rogers identified Kelsey Berreth's blood in several evidence items taken from her townhome, including floorboards, grout from her fireplace and on her living room couch.
During the defense's cross-examination, Adam Steigerwald, Frazee's lead attorney was quick to ask what items of the 119 submitted to the CBI lab didn't come back positive for Kelsey Berreth's DNA. Those included swabs from her towel rack, swabs from inside her bathroom tub, door handle on the kitchen closet and floormats in and outside her home.
Frazee's DNA was found on two items in the analysis, but the quantity was much smaller than that of Berreth. Susan Gorney, the former owner of Berreth's townhome also had DNA detected in the home. She lived there for 26 years prior to Berreth.
Judge Scott Sells released the jury just before 4 p.m. on Thursday evening, and followed with a closed hearing on a potential witness taking the stand Friday morning. Sells said the hearing was to discuss potential evidence that has not been submitted yet. It's unclear if the witness is from the prosecution or defense.
The final witnesses are set to testify tomorrow morning. Closing arguments should take place after the lunch break. The jury may start their deliberations on Friday evening.
CRIPPLE CREEK, Colo. (KRDO) - Investigators revealed that blood found in Kelsey Berreth's Woodland Park townhome was a certain match for Berreth's DNA, and that tooth fragments found in the apartment were likely human.
The first witness to testify was a DNA analyst with the Colorado Bureau of Investigations. She told the courtroom that she tested blood from samples found on the apartment's fireplace, side of the tub, on the toilet, and on a baby gate.
The expert witness said that the samples were all at least "46 septillion times" more likely to be Kelsey Berreth's blood than blood from an unknown individual.
A second witness called to the stand was a board certified forensic anthropologist and PhD. She discussed her analysis of two tooth fragments found in Berreth's apartment.
The second witness told the courtroom that the fragments were likely human, and had likely been broken as a result of blunt force trauma.
The larger of the fragments was only 5 millimeters, so the witness said she could not be certain that the fragments came from the same tooth.
This size of the fragments also made species identification tricky. The witness said she believes it to be a human tooth, but because the fragments are so small she would not make a declaration with 100% certainty.
She said she found no inconsistencies with the tooth being human, and that it definitely did not belong to a commonly domesticated animal, such as a dog, cat, horse or cow.
CRIPPLE CREEK, Colo. (KRDO) - Investigators revealed they found large blood stains under the floorboards of a townhome where Kelsey Berreth was said to be murdered last year.
The murder trial for Patrick Frazee, the man accused of killing Berreth, continued Tuesday after a break for Veterans Day. We've already learned that his former girlfriend, Krystal Lee, told investigators how Frazee planned to kill Berreth and tried to get Lee to commit the murder on several occasions.
Tuesday, prosecutors showed the jury pictures from inside the Woodland Park townhome where Lee said Frazee murdered Berreth with a baseball bat before burning her body in a tote on a ranch property.
Lee had testified that she was called to clean up the crime scene, and she drove from Idaho to Colorado on Thanksgiving Day to dispose of the blood and mess. She said she cleaned most of it up but allegedly left a few spots for investigators to find. One of Lee's former coworkers testified that Lee had switched shifts to be able to make the trip to Colorado, corroborating her timeline.
An investigator testified that they found specks of blood that were smaller than raindrops, but then a stain led them to tear apart the floorboards in the condo.
They found dozens of floorboards with large blood stains, according to testimony.
Frazee has largely been attentive all morning, paying attention to the forensic evidence that was presented in court Tuesday. Last week, we learned new details in relation to the case: Lee said she was pregnant with Frazee's child in 2016 before having an abortion; one of Frazee's friends testified that he hinted to murdering Berreth; and investigators showed where they found a tooth fragment near a burn spot where Berreth's body was allegedly disposed of.
We'll have more on this story throughout the day.
In more than a day of testimony this week, Krystal Lee told jurors and prosecutors an account of helping Patrick Frazee clean a bloody crime scene and then watching as he burned his fiancee's corpse at his ranch in Florissant.
Friday, prosecutors began asking other people to corroborate details of her account.
Frazee is on trial for first-degree murder and solicitation to commit murder after the disappearance of his fiancee, Kelsey Berreth, last Thanksgiving.
Lee has pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence for allegedly helping clean the crime scene. She says Frazee tried to get her to kill Berreth on several occasions before committing the murder, himself, with a baseball bat.
The first witness to testify Friday was the owner of Nash Ranch, where Berreth's body was allegedly burned inside a tote. She said she leased a couple of buildings to Frazee and said he had the keys to the barn where Lee said Berreth's body was stored before being burned.
Next, an officer specially certified with K-9 investigative dogs testified to the effectiveness of cadaver dogs. He then said that his dog, Radar, was taken into the barn and signaled for human decomposition present. Video showed the dog visibly respond to possible human decomposition near hay bales in the barn.
Another K-9 expert, Brian Eberle, was called to testify, and he said he brought an investigative dog to the condo where Berreth was allegedly beaten to death with a baseball bat. Eberle testified that the dog detected human decomposition scent around a Toyota Corolla outside. He testified that if someone put bags with bloody material near the corner, the dog would pick up on that. The dog didn't detect anything or signal for anything inside the condo.
Before the morning break, Krystal Lee's father took the stand and was visibly shaking with nerves.
Lee's father, Sydney Dustin Kenney, gave basic details about his relationship with his daughter, saying "she likes to please" and "she's always good at what she tried to do." He said he had been invited to Thanksgiving with Lee and her husband, Chad.
Kenney said he didn't know Frazee and had never met him. He said he was aware of him about 10 years ago, when Lee spoke of him. He testified that he didn't like what she was telling him about Frazee, but he didn't give specific details.
Kenney said he was only aware of Lee getting back in touch with Frazee in about 2017 or 2018 for a horse deal, but he didn't remember details of the deal. Frazee's defense asked if he knew Lee was going into business with Frazee, and Kenney said he did.
In the afternoon, FBI agents testified about what they found at the burn spot on Frazee's property in Florissant. In previous searches in mid-December, they said they didn't find any biological or decomposition evidence in their excavations.
When Lee pointed out the burn spot, investigators found an inch of topsoil and gravel that had been poured recently. The investigators said it was hard to notice unless you were looking right at it.
When they removed the top layer, they found a crust of plastic coating underneath, according to testimony. Next to the crust was a soiled spot that was wet with oil and other debris.
According to testimony, it was on the last shovel of dirt that an agent found what she believed to be a tooth. It turned out to be a partial tooth.
The agents also testified that they found wooden baseball bats and a wooden club on Frazee's property.
Thursday, Krystal Lee testified that she watched Frazee burn a tote with Berreth's body inside of it. She also pointed to spots inside Berreth's apartment that she cleaned up, and prosecutors played a video of the ranch property where Berreth's body was said to be burned. Lee helped narrate that video for jurors.
She told the defense that she was scared for her own life and for her family's lives, and she said she never thought Frazee would follow through with his threats to hurt anyone. She testified that in the two months that she traveled back and forth between Colorado and Idaho, she was coerced by Frazee on multiple occasions to kill Berreth. She said she went to Berreth's apartment on two occasions with a metal pipe and a baseball bat, but ultimately didn't do anything with them. Frazee's defense said that was enough to prove attempted murder by Lee.
Frazee's defense also questioned Lee's motives for providing testimony to prosecutors. Lee took a plea deal in exchange for cooperation, and the defense pointed out that she could be eligible for no jail time after allegedly helping clean a crime scene.
Lee's sentencing won't take place until after Frazee's trial.
During Lee’s daylong testimony Wednesday, she described the chemistry that existed between her and Frazee from when they started dating when she was twenty after meeting at the Teller County Fair in 2006. She described seeing him that first time, “He was tall and handsome and we danced and he seemed, from the conversation we had, he was pretty admirable and had his act together, and seemed like a pretty good dude.”
A decade later, their on-and-off affair had become sordid, with Lee meeting up with Frazee while she was married to another man. In March 2016, she became pregnant by Frazee, according to her testimony. She said she, “Thought he would be happy and excited and that we'd make it work.
“He was not. He said the baby was going to be a bastard. And he said it wasn't going to look good that a married woman didn't take care of things, and now everyone was going to know,” Lee said on the stand.
She said aborted the baby but told Frazee she’d miscarried.
By this time, Frazee and Berreth had been online dating for several months, and by April, she told her family she was moving to Colorado from her home in Washington to be with him. According to Lee’s testimony, she was oblivious to Frazee’s other relationship.
While Lee was on the witness stand, prosecutors didn’t press her on her reaction to finding out Frazee had a family with another woman. She said Frazee began complaining that Berreth had been frequently abusing baby Kayley. She testified that Frazee would tell her Kayley would be injured, on purpose, by Kelsey trying to get back at Frazee.
She explained that’s how Frazee first brought up the idea of killing Berreth, although he described it as “getting rid of her.”
On three different occasions, Lee described traveling from Idaho to Colorado with the express purpose of harming Berreth, to acquiesce to Frazee’s demands. Lee said Frazee “Asked if I would do anything to protect someone who’s innocent, who couldn't defend themselves? I said, ‘Well I guess it would depend on the situation.”
On November 22nd, 2018, Lee described receiving a call from Frazee while she was entertaining a roomful of Thanksgiving guests. She said he told her she had a big mess to clean up, and to travel from Idaho to Colorado as soon as possible to do it. Lee described being unsure as to whether he’d really killed Berreth.
She started the 11-hour drive the following night, arriving at Berreth’s Woodland Park condominium around 7 a.m. on November 24, discovering a bloody scene, she testified. She cleaned for four hours with supplies she’d brought from her home as well as some of Berreth’s own rags and bags. She testified that she threw out pillows, stuffed animals and other items too blood-spattered to clean.
As to what the two had discussed, regarding the actual alleged murder, Lee had the following conversation with the prosecutor:
“Did you talk to him about what you saw, and what you thought about what you saw?”
“ I remember telling him that it was a lot.”
“Did he provide any details to you?”
“He said there's a tote in the back of the truck, that he keeps horse supplies in, that he brought that in, and put her in there, and put the bat in there, and took it out to his truck.”
CRIPPLE CREEK, Colo. (KRDO) - On Monday, witnesses in the Patrick Frazee murder trial revealed that the investigation into Kelsey Berreth's murder began with an empty townhome, a blood smear and a request for surveillance video.
Cheryl Berreth, Kelsey's mother, was the first to take the stand. She and her son, Clinton, arrived to check on Kelsey at her apartment on Dec 3, 2018.
They spent the next week with the Woodland Park Police Department. Police said they went to check on Kelsey at her townhome on Lake Avenue, but she wasn't inside. Her two vehicles, a Toyota Corrolla and Red Chevy Truck, were still parked outside covered in snow.
That was a tell-tale sign for Sgt. Michael McDaniel. He said, "for someone to be missing and not take their vehicles, means she had to leave on foot."
When Cheryl Berreth first walked into the home, she explains that it was warm. Uncomfortably warm. The garbage bin hadn't been dumped.
Clinton Berreth says he noticed cinnamon rolls sitting in the kitchen, uncovered.
They also noticed everything was wiped down.
It wasn't until Clinton was in the bathroom one morning when he noticed a bloody smear on the bottom of toilet bowl. They took a picture, sent it to police, and from that moment on, we're not allowed back in.
Sgt. McDaniel explained to prosecutors while searching the house that he collected Kelsey's toothbrush and mouthguard he found inside her medicine cabinet, even though it was still only a missing persons case at the time.
"Something started to feel wrong," he said.
The first officer to speak with Patrick Frazee after a welfare check -- days before the Berreth family arrived in town -- was Cpl. Deana Currin.
Frazee's 15-minute conversation with Currin, played aloud in the courtroom, was mostly unremarkable. Except for, in Currin's opinion, "the lack of concern. There was no future date of exchange with their child."
As the Berreth family and Woodland Park Police continued their investigation, Patrick Frazee was doing some digging of his own, one witness says.
Patricia Key, an employee of the ENT Bank in Woodland Park told the court that on December 5th Frazee and an unidentified male entered the bank and asked to review ATM surveillance video.
"Once we were in my office, Frazee asked if he could get surveillance video from November 22nd," Key said. November 22, 2018 was Thanksgiving Day. and the date of Kelsey Berreth's alleged murder.
Key says Frazee explained that he and his fiancee had broken up the day before. He said she hadn't been seen, and that he needed to have a timeline of his activity for that day.
Key told the court she felt empathy for Frazee, as he had lost someone in his life. She says Frazee responded, "All I know is after she was seen at Safeway, she talked with mother Sunday and no one's seen her since."
That's when Key says she pressed the issue. She told Frazee, "Well, if she talked to her mom Sunday, then she didn't go missing on Thanksgiving."
Frazee ended the conversation. The other man seen alongside him in a still-picture from the surveillance picture wasn't identified in court.