A Teller County man accused of bludgeoning his fiancee to death with a baseball bat reacted so abusively to hospital staff after the birth of the couple’s daughter that Social Services was called to determine if the mother was in danger, according to search warrants released Wednesday.
A Dec. 11 application for a judge’s order to obtain saliva samples from Patrick Frazee, 32, relates that outburst by the man suspected in the disappearance and presumed murder of Kelsey Berreth, 29, at her Woodland Park townhouse on Thanksgiving Day.
Because the girl was born three weeks early, she needed extra medical care, so doctors wouldn’t let Berreth keep the baby in her room, according to the warrant application.
That angered Frazee, who believed the baby should spend her first few hours bonding with her parents.
“Patrick became so upset and verbally abusive with the nursing staff that Social Services was notified,” Woodland Park police Cmdr. Christopher Adams wrote, citing an account by Berreth’s mother, Cheryl Berreth.
The girl was removed from the couple’s care until a safety evaluation could be done “to determine if Kelsey was being physically abused by Patrick.” Court records show no evidence that authorities took action after the blowup.
Documents from nearly two dozen searches were posted on a state judicial website two days after a judge ordered them released at a pretrial motions hearing in Cripple Creek for Frazee, who is charged with first-degree murder and three counts of solicitation of murder.
The documents may be viewed here: courts.state.co.us/Courts/District/Case_Details.cfm?Case_ID=2867
Another document in support of a search warrant raised the possibility that Frazee’s mother, Sheila Frazee, with whom he lived on a ranch in Florissant, knew about the killing and had kept it secret.
A screenshot of a posting to a Facebook page registered in the name of Sheila McCorkle-Frazee — cheering, “YAY the witch is dead” — was among the trove of search papers unsealed by a judge this week.
But investigators later determined the “witch” comment was not posted by Frazee’s mother, said Lee Richards, spokeswoman for the 4th Judicial District Attorney’s Office.
“It’s just a very strange coincidence, but it is not Patrick Frazee’s mother,” Richards said. “They saw it, they investigated it and it was not Patrick Frazee’s mother.”
No charges have been filed against Sheila Frazee in the case, and her attorney, Joshua Tolini of Colorado Springs, declined to comment, citing a gag order.
Prosecutors called Sheila Frazee to the stand at a hearing for her son, but a judge ruled that she didn’t have to testify after her attorney indicated she would assert her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
During that hearing, El Paso County District Attorney Dan May said he wanted to question Sheila Frazee about a witness’ report that she saw her son burning evidence on their Florissant-area ranch.
A Woodland Park police investigator included a screenshot of the social media post in a Dec. 14 application for a judge’s permission to search the 30-acre ranch. Investigators later found adult teeth in “multiple rooms,” as well as a sheet that might contain blood, but it’s unclear if the items have been tested or if they are related to the crime.
In his ruling Monday, 4th Judicial District Judge Scott Sells found the search warrants were public records and should be unsealed once personal information had been redacted. Prosecutors did not take a position. Attorneys for Frazee objected, saying the release could impair the search for an unbiased jury in the mountain community.
Sells downplayed the potential for harming the investigation or tainting Frazee’s trial, saying the contents of the search papers were largely described at a Feb. 19 pretrial hearing that laid out the case against him.
The papers include data from Verizon and Facebook as investigators sought to link Frazee to Berreth’s presumed murder. The evidence puts him at the scene of her Thanksgiving Day killing and at his ranch, where Berreth’s body was burned with oil and gasoline, according to a witness. Authorities, who have not found Berreth’s body, are searching for it at a landfill in Fountain.
They also show surveillance images of Frazee at key locations in what authorities call a murder plot, including at a gas station where he filled a 5-gallon container with gasoline.
Cellphone movements emerged as critical evidence against Frazee, alongside testimony by Krystal Lee Kenney, an Idaho nurse who was romantically involved with him. She said he confessed to her and directed her to help with a cover-up, including cleaning Berreth’s apartment and driving to Idaho with Berreth’s phone to create the appearance that the woman was still alive.
Kenney, of Hansen, Idaho, faces up to 18 months in prison under a plea bargain that requires her to testify against Frazee.
The application to search the Frazee ranch contains phone records showing texts between Berreth’s and Frazee’s phones in the days after authorities say she was slain, all previously disclosed at Frazee’s evidentiary hearing.
“Do you even love me?” read a message from Berreth’s phone to Frazee on Nov. 25, three days after she allegedly was beaten to death.
Frazee is due back in court April 5, where he is expected to enter a plea. A trial date is to be scheduled then.