CRIPPLE CREEK • Idaho nurse Krystal Jean Kenney gave investigators a blow-by-blow account of the murder of Woodland Park mother Kelsey Berreth and the grisly disposal of her body, a Colorado Bureau of Investigation agent testified Tuesday during a hearing in Cripple Creek.
When Kenney entered Berreth's townhome in late November, blood was splattered on the walls, floor and children's toys, said Agent Greg Slater.
Kenney spent three to four hours cleaning, bleaching the walls and floors, removing the curtains and couch pillows and hunting for a tooth in an air duct that Berreth's fiance and alleged killer told her to find, Slater said.
Patrick Frazee allegedly had taken matters into his own hands, blindfolding Berreth with a sweater, telling her he wanted her to guess the fragrance of a scented candle. Instead, he bludgeoned her with a baseball bat, Kenney said.
The alleged murder plot and cleanup are among new details revealed in the case against Frazee. His preliminary hearing also drew on cellphone records, suspected blood found in Berreth's townhome and surveillance video.
A judge ruled Tuesday that evidence was sufficient to merit a murder trial for Frazee, who remains held in the Teller County jail without bond.
Frazee reportedly stuffed Berreth's body in a black bag and drove to celebrate Thanksgiving with family.
"You don’t know how hard it was to go have Thanksgiving dinner after killing her," Frazee allegedly told Kenney, Slater said.
Kenney told investigators that Frazee later drove the body to Nash Ranch in Fremont County and placed it on top of haystacks in a barn, Slater said. Kenney reportedly went to the ranch and helped Frazee retrieve the body. With Berreth's body in a Toyota Tacoma, they drove to Frazee's property in Teller County and used gasoline and oil to burn a tote containing the body and the baseball bat used to kill her.
"She stayed there for several hours while the fire burned," Slater testified. While the body burned, Frazee's mother, Sheila, reportedly came outside and looked.
Berreth, 29, went missing Nov. 22 — on Thanksgiving Day — and is presumed dead. Frazee was arrested Dec. 21 and later charged with first-degree murder and three counts of solicitation of murder.
Kenney took investigators to Nash Ranch on Dec. 21 to show them where Berreth's body was stored and to Frazee's property, where it later was burned, Slater said. FBI evidence technicians and a Colorado Department of Public Safety arson investigator studied the alleged burn area and found evidence of accelerant.
Kenney told investigators that she drove to Idaho with Berreth's phone at Frazee's request, Slater said. She texted him and Berreth's work supervisor from the phone.
Kenney claimed she intentionally turned on Berreth's phone at the time, knowing it could be linked to the movements of her own phone, Slater said. She reportedly wanted to tip off investigators and create a trail.
Kenney said she did all of this out of fear of Frazee, Slater testified. She said she feared that he had people watching her, as he claimed he had people watching Berreth.
The testimony framed Kenney as a key figure in the investigation. She previously accepted a plea deal in exchange for her testimony against Frazee.
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During the two months before the murder, Frazee allegedly had urged Kenney three times to kill Berreth — once by drugging her macchiato as a way to "get rid of her" and two other times with an aluminum bat and a metal rod, Slater said.
He said Frazee and Kenney plotted for her to spike Berreth's coffee with drugs she could get at the hospital where she worked. Kenney went so far as to buy a caramel macchiato at the Starbucks inside the Woodland Park Walmart Sept. 23 and pose as a neighbor thanking Berreth for corralling her loose dogs.
Berreth told Kenney, who used a bogus name, that she had not helped with the dogs but accepted the unlaced drink anyway. Slater said Frazee was angry when he learned the coffee hadn't been tainted.
Slater said Kenney admitted to coming closest to attacking Berreth when she sat outside of the woman's home with a baseball bat. But after driving to Woodland Park from Idaho, she left when she heard a dog bark.
Kenney reportedly said she believed the couple’s daughter was in danger under Berreth’s care and that she "couldn’t live with herself if something happened" to the child.
Then, on Nov. 22, Frazee called Kenney in Idaho and said, "You got to get here now. You got a mess to clean up," Slater testified.
Two days later, she was on her way to Colorado with a cleanup kit, including rubber gloves, a protective body suit and trash bags. She walked into Berreth's home after Frazee gave her the keys and saw blood on the walls, floor and children's toys.
"When she opened the door, it was horrific," Slater said.
Kenney also told Slater that Frazee claimed Berreth was a "terrible mother" who physically abused their daughter and used drugs and alcohol.
Frazee also allegedly told his mother to lie about Berreth in a campaign to paint her as a bad mother, said 4th Judicial District Attorney Dan May. May also said Sheila witnessed the burning of evidence in the killing.
But Slater said there is no evidence that the daughter was abused, and she appeared happy and healthy in photos. There are no hospital records or Department of Human Services reports.
Slater also revealed that forensic testing found traces of Berreth's blood in her bathroom. Berreth's family notified the CBI of spots of blood they found when they visited the house Dec. 6. Woodland Park police and the CBI had come up empty in their sweep of the house Dec. 3 and 4.
Cellphone records from the day of Berreth's disappearance showed that Frazee called his mother, Sheila, at 4:24 p.m, Slater said. His phone connected to the tower that services Berreth's house.
At 4:37 p.m., Frazee called Kenney's Idaho number — also in the vicinity of Berreth's home — and received a return call from that number minutes later.
Cmdr. Chris Adams told the court that the day after Berreth went missing, her phone and Frazee's phone were "hitting off" the tower that services Frazee's Florissant home.
Kenney, 32, was seen on surveillance video Nov. 24 at a Conoco in Florissant. Also captured in the video then was Frazee, filling a 5-gallon jug of gasoline.
On Nov. 25, Kenney's and Berreth's phones simultaneously pinged in Grand Junction.
Also that day, Berreth's supervisor got a text from her saying she wouldn't be at work and was going to visit her grandmother, Slater said. Kelsey's mother, Cheryl, told Slater that Kelsey never mentioned the trip.
Cheryl also told Slater that she got a text from Berreth's phone Nov. 24 saying she'd call the next day. That call never came, said Slater.
Sean Frazee, Patrick's brother and a Colorado Springs police officer, dropped by Patrick's house at 2:30 p.m. Nov. 22, Adams said. Patrick was not home, but when Sean arrived "a little later," Patrick was there with his and Berreth's 1-year-old daughter. Nothing was out of the ordinary, Adams said.
Adams added that Patrick and Sean are estranged.
Adams also described a Dec. 2 recorded call between Frazee and an officer to the court. Frazee told the officer that Berreth told him she wanted to end their relationship. She wanted "space," he told police. "We'd figure out custody arrangements from there."
In the recorded call, Frazee also claimed Berreth suffered from depression and went to a clinic in California for treatment in August 2018. After getting out, she complained of the stress from a five-day work commute from Woodland Park to Pueblo.
In 2017, Frazee took Berreth's gun, Slater said. The couple were arguing about finances when Berreth said, "Maybe I would be better off dead" and pointed the gun at her head.
Frazee's mother was called to the stand Tuesday prior to Adams' and Slater's testimony. A judge ruled in favor of her attorney's representation that she would invoke the 5th Amendment at the start of the hearing.
Before Tuesday, the only possible motive for the presumed killing was found in an amended complaint filed Friday in U.S. District Court in the wrongful-death lawsuit brought by Berreth’s family against Frazee. In it, they claim Frazee, who had the keys to Berreth’s townhome, demanded full custody of their daughter and killed her when she refused.
The case, which has attracted international attention, also led to a custody battle over the couple’s daughter pitting Berreth’s parents against Frazee’s mother. A judge has granted temporary custody to Berreth’s parents.
Frazee’s friends have described him as a hard-working rancher, farrier and horse trainer who lived on his family’s 35-acre property in Florissant. Some speak of him as an average Joe, while others describe him as a caring father who would help anyone.
Their claims that Frazee has been unfairly connected to the death took a jolt Feb. 8 when Kenney pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence and accepted the deal.
"I learned Patrick Frazee had committed a homicide," Kenney testified in court, reading from a handwritten statement. Choking back tears, she admitted she moved the victim’s cellphone with the intent to impair the investigation.
The charge against Kenney is a felony that normally results in up to 18 months in prison, but no sentence will be imposed until after Frazee’s case has concluded.