The death penalty appears to be off the table for Patrick Frazee, the Florissant rancher charged with first-degree murder and awaiting trial in the killing of Kelsey Berreth, his fiancee and mother of his daughter.
Fourth Judicial District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Lee Richards said prosecutors would not be filing notice Friday declaring their intention to seek capital punishment against Frazee, 33, apparently closing the door on the possibility.
State law gives prosecutors nine weeks from a defendant’s arraignment to announce if they intended to seek the death penalty, and Richards confirmed that Friday was the deadline in the Frazee case.
Richards declined to answer further questions, saying they should be directed to District Attorney Dan May at Frazee’s next scheduled court appearance on Aug. 23 in Cripple Creek.
Public defender Adam Steigerwald, one of two attorneys representing Frazee, said they hope to take the case to trial by the scheduled start date on Oct. 28.
The rancher, who shared a toddler daughter with Berreth, 29, remains held without bond at the Teller County Jail in Divide. He professed his innocence in the woman’s Thanksgiving Day disappearance before he was charged with her murder in December.
Authorities allege that Frazee killed her in her Woodland Park townhouse that holiday afternoon, beating her to death with a baseball bat while their daughter was in a different room. An Idaho woman with whom Frazee has been linked romantically, Krystal Lee Kenney, has pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence, admitting that she used Berreth’s cellphone to make it look like the woman had fled Colorado.
According to Kenney, Frazee stored Berreth’s remains in a barn and then burned them on his Teller County property.
Kenney, who faces up to three years in prison, will be sentenced when the case against Frazee has concluded.