(COURIER) Patrick Frazee leaves courthouse Dec. 3, 2018

Patrick Frazee leaves the Teller County District Court in Cripple Creek in December after being charged with two counts of first-degree murder and three counts of solicitation to commit murder in the first degree in the death of his fiancee Kelsey Berreth.

A Teller County rancher awaiting a murder trial on charges he fatally bludgeoned a missing Woodland Park woman is expected to return to court in Cripple Creek on Friday for pretrial motions.

Patrick Frazee is due at 9 a.m. for a hearing expected to determine if prosecutors can move forward with consumptive testing of a single, unnamed piece of evidence in the disappearance and apparent death of his fiancee, 29-year-old Kelsey Berreth.

Consumptive testing means that the item in question would not survive, requiring a judge to consider if the testing is necessary and appropriate.

Woodland Park shooting leaves 1 dead

The case has captured worldwide attention since Berreth disappeared on Thanksgiving Day, sparking a monthlong search that ended with Berreth presumed dead and Frazee jailed on six felony charges, including first-degree murder, solicitation of murder and tampering with a body. During a preliminary hearing this year, authorities relayed allegations that Frazee tried to persuade an Idaho nurse with whom he was having an affair to kill Berreth before he carried out the slaying himself.

Frazee, 33, who has pleaded not guilty, is due for trial on Oct. 28 in Cripple Creek. He faces life in prison without parole if convicted of first-degree murder.

Frazee was also in court Wednesday as part of the battle for custody of his and Berreth’s toddler daughter. In April, a judge awarded temporary custody of the child to Berreth’s parents. It’s unclear if arrangements have changed, because the judge has banned the public from the custody hearings.

Reporter

I cover legal affairs for The Gazette, with an emphasis on the criminal courts. Tips to lance.benzel@gazette.com

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