CRIPPLE CREEK • It could be more than a month before prosecutors reveal the evidence against a Teller County man suspected in the killing of a woman described as his fiancee, who disappeared from her Woodland Park home on Thanksgiving Day and is presumed dead.
A judge on Friday postponed a key hearing for Patrick Frazee, who is charged with first-degree murder and three counts of solicitation of murder.
With arrest documents sealed and investigators mostly silent, Frazee’s preliminary hearing could be the first time the allegations are fleshed out, disclosing why authorities believe Frazee killed Kelsey Berreth, 29, the mother of his 1-year-old daughter.
Those details will help determine if there is enough evidence to put Frazee on trial.
Frazee’s hearing was moved to Feb. 19 after the defense said it needed more time to prepare.
The postponement, which is typical for complicated murder cases in the Pikes Peak region, came as Frazee, 32, returned to court in Cripple Creek for a motions hearing. He spoke just once, answering, “Yes, sir,” when asked if he agreed to waive his right to a preliminary hearing within 35 days.
Prosecutors dropped a bid to bar Frazee from learning the contents of an affidavit describing grounds for his Dec. 21 arrest.
Prosecutors made the request at a hearing Monday, saying that investigators wanted to run down several leads before revealing what sources they used in obtaining a judge’s authorization for his arrest.
“Once those leads were followed up on, we no longer had concerns about Mr. Frazee seeing it,” Viehman said outside the courthouse.
The move cleared Frazee to discuss the document with his attorneys and averted a promised court battle over his constitutional right to know the allegations against him.
In neighboring El Paso County, which belongs to the same judicial district as Teller County, such protective measures are generally reserved for cases involving gangs and conspiracies where witnesses’ safety could be atrisk, Colorado Springs attorney Phil Dubois said.
Prosecutors on Friday also tabled a request for consumptive testing, meaning they wanted to destroy evidence to test it.
Viehman said the as-yet undisclosed item is no longer believed to be a critical part of the case.
Presiding over court on Friday was Frazee’s new judge. Fourth Judicial District Judge Scott Sells inherited the case upon transferring this week to Teller County District Court from El Paso County. The previous judge, Lin Billings Vela, has moved to El Paso County District Court. The changes were part of a routine rotation of judges in the 4th Judicial District Court.
In a related custody matter, a judge ruled Thursday that Berreth’s family will retain temporary custody of the couple’s daughter, Kaylee.
The toddler had remained with Frazee during the nearly monthlong search for Berreth before he was arrested.
Gazette news partner KKTV on Friday reported that an Idaho nurse has been questioned in the case, citing reporting by a sister station KMVT in Idaho Falls.
Potential ties are unclear, and no charges have been announced, but Woodland Park police have said a tower in Gooding, Idaho, pinged Berreth’s cellphone three days after she was last seen on Nov. 22. Authorities say they believe Berreth was slain in her home that day.