CRIPPLE CREEK • Patrick Frazee arrived late and missed his family’s Thanksgiving Day meal last year — lending credence to surveillance footage that appeared to show him at his fiancee’s front door over a 4-hour span the day she was allegedly beaten to death.
The details came Tuesday on the third day of testimony at his first-degree murder trial, which has cast a national spotlight on tiny Teller County.
Prosecutors are seeking to prove Frazee, 33, killed his fiancee, Kelsey Berreth, 29, in her Woodland Park town house while their toddler daughter lay in a different room.
Prosecutors moved deliberately as they set out a timeline of events on Thanksgiving Day — based partly on testimony by Sean Frazee, a Colorado Springs police patrol officer, who seemed to pay little heed to his younger brother at the defense table.
Sean Frazee, who drove to Florissant with his wife and children last year for the holiday, said Patrick Frazee arrived late to their mother’s house — about 5 p.m. — and missed a dinner lasting up to an hour and a half.
His testimony matched up with surveillance camera footage taken outside Berreth’s town house, which allegedly captured Patrick Frazee nearly a dozen times between 12:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. that day. It takes about 20 or 30 minutes to drive from Woodland Park to Frazee’s mother’s ranch in Florissant.
At the family home, Sean Frazee described a nice evening with his kids and his brother’s toddler, Kaylee, acknowledging that Patrick Frazee spent about half the time outside, saying he was doing chores.
“He brought Kaylee in and we played with her,” Sean Frazee said, speaking in a flat monotone betraying little emotion.
He added that sometime before Berreth was reported missing, Patrick Frazee had said he and his fiancee were separated. He also implied she had been having an affair, a claim for which there has been no evidence.
Sean Frazee acknowledged a continuing family feud over their father’s estate worth roughly $400,000, leading El Paso and Teller County District Attorney Dan May, who is part of the prosecution team, to disclose that “financial pressures” will factor into the prosecution case.
Prosecutors also introduced evidence that Frazee had defaulted on a $70,000 loan, and that he had been paying Kelsey Berreth $700 a month in child support since the October 2017 birth of their daughter. Those payments ended in June 2018.
Frazee’s public defenders sought to punch holes in evidence from a day earlier about the surveillance camera footage, which was captured by one of Berreth’s neighbors.
Defense attorney Adam Steigerwald hammered on the point that none of the images cited by prosecutors showed Frazee with a large plastic tote, which they say he used to transport her body to his ranch, where he allegedly burned it.
The footage was the first hard evidence tying Frazee to Berreth’s townhouse for a significant duration on the day she went missing.
But an investigator was forced to tack on a caveat under pressure by the defense.
That happened when Steigerwald pointed to changing light and shadows in attacking the timeline of the photographs, which investigators say were taken between 12:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.
“I know you’re a forensic cellphone reconstruction expert, but that’s not the way the sun moves, is it?” he said, pointing out how two photos allegedly taken at the same time showed different lighting conditions.
The attack forced 4th Judicial District Attorney’s investigator Chad Mininger into acknowledging that his analysis assumed that the owner of the surveillance program that captured the images had looked at them on her phone in chronological order.
If she happened to click on those cellphone alerts out of sequence, Mininger conceded that his reconstructed timeline would be flawed.
Timing is a key issue in the case against Frazee, who previously told police he stopped by Berreth’s condo only once on Thanksgiving Day to get their baby, and that he left at noon.
Prosecutors elicited testimony that even if some images were out of order, none of them would be more than about an hour off, leaving proof that Frazee had lied.
Another District Attorney investigator, Stephanie Courtney, walked the jury through surveillance videos from four locations showing Patrick Frazee together with Berreth and their baby before they arrived at Berreth’s place together about 1:30 p.m.
A camera at Williams Log Home Furniture in Woodland Park spotted Patrick Frazee again at 4:36 p.m., driving away from Berreth’s condo. This time, a black box in the bed of his pickup was reoriented from how it had been four hours earlier.
Prosecutors presented it as evidence that Frazee had Berreth’s body in the hard plastic case in the bed of his pickup. The defense suggested that Frazee had manipulated the box when he was putting away supplies he’d purchased at Walmart, including a large bag of dog food.
Colorado Bureau of Investigation Agent Gregg Slater said the investigation ratcheted up when cellphone records showed that Frazee placed a call to Idaho about 4:30 p.m. Nov. 22, around when he allegedly left Berreth’s house.
At the time, Slater was aware that Berreth’s missing phone had last pinged in southern Idaho, making the new lead a top priority.
“It sparked my interest, yes,” he told the panel.
That call, authorities say, went to Frazee’s mistress, Krystal Lee Kenney, who said she agreed to clean up a bloody scene at Frazee’s request, and who is expected to take the stand as a key witness, though no schedule has been announced.
Testimony will resume at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday.
The Gazette’s Jakob Rodgers contributed to this story.