CRIPPLE CREEK — “Please stop.”
Those were the last words uttered by a blindfolded Kelsey Berreth as her fiancee, Patrick Frazee, allegedly beat her to death with a baseball bat on Thanksgiving Day in her Woodland Park townhome.
The desperate plea capped an emotional day of testimony from prosecutors’ star witness, Krystal Lee, an Idaho nurse who testified that Frazee personally confessed to the killing, then enlisted her help in trying to cover it up.
Lee — who has previously gone by the last name of Kenney — broke down in sobs while relaying in a barely audible voice what Frazee told her about Berreth’s dying words.
Jurors adjourned for the day soon afterward, followed by Lee walking out of the courtroom weeping.
Testifying for hours in the murder trial of her former boyfriend, Lee stared straight ahead and avoided looking at Frazee – with whom she had an on-again, off-again relationship that lasted 13 years.
Berreth’s body was never found and Frazee’s defense has said that the case against him is based on a “tale” told by Lee to avoid jail time after she became caught up in the investigation into Berreth's disappearance and presumed death.
Lee pleaded guilty to evidence tampering in February, admitting that she took Berreth's phone to Idaho at Frazee's request to make it seem like Berreth had left the state. Once Frazee's trial ends, she faces up to three years in prison under terms of her plea bargain, which required her testimony.
Often choking up and dabbing her face with a tissue, Lee recalled falling for Frazee in 2006 at a dance in Lake George, west of Colorado Springs.
“He was tall and handsome and we danced and seemed from the conversation that we had he was pretty admirable, and had his act together and seemed like a pretty good dude," Lee said.
Their relationship soured a year and a half later. And Lee described a moment afterward where Frazee threatened to kill a dog he had given her, telling her that the previous owner was demanding the dog back unless he paid for it.
But they stayed in touch every few years, often through Facebook. A day before her 2010 wedding to another man in 2010, Frazee urged her to back out. She went through with the marriage anyway.
“I felt like maybe I was wanting to make that right choice, so that I didn't make the wrong choice,” Lee said. “But I also felt like my heart was in love with Patrick."
When her marriage turned rocky in 2015, Lee traveled back to Colorado and began an affair with Frazee — recalling "it was like nothing had changed — same giddy feeling."
Frazee urged her to get a divorce. And in March 2016, Lee became pregnant with Frazee’s child — news that Frazee did not take well.
Lee had an abortion, and told Frazee it was a miscarriage. Even though she filed for divorce two months later, the two didn't reconnect until October 2017.
In August 2018, Frazee, 33, acknowledged he was in another relationship, and that he had a child. Frazee claimed the mother, 29-year-old Berreth, was abusing their toddler daughter, Kaylee.
For a time, Lee said she believed him. Within weeks, Frazee began asking her to “take care of the problem," a phrase that Lee took as killing Berreth. Frazee said it would be easy — something that was normal.
Frazee asked her three times to kill Berreth — first with a poisoned cup of coffee, then with a metal rod and finally with a bat, she told the jury. Each time, he instructed her to just “swing away,” Lee recalled.
She backed out at the last minute each time — angering Frazee, Lee testified.
“I said, ‘I can't, I can't do it,” she said.
“He told me that I had made Kaylee a promise that I’d protect her," Lee added later. “And I was worried, because he said he has people, he has people everywhere.”
She eventually grew suspicious of Frazee’s claims that Berreth was a poor mother, especially after baby-sitting the girl and not finding any bruises on her.
She said she never called police out of fear that she’d be blamed, and that Frazee would call someone to kill her, too.
“I was hoping it would just go away," Lee said. “I hoped he would just leave it alone. I just wanted to ignore the problem.
“And he’s saying his little girl is being abused. I didn’t know what to do. So I didn’t make the right decisions.”
On Thanksgiving evening, Frazee called Lee and told her she had “a mess to clean up,” she testified.
When Lee opened the door to Berreth’s apartment on the morning of Nov. 24, she said she found blood everywhere. On the floor, the fireplace, behind the couch. On cookie cutters, on carpets in nearly every room and on the walls higher than Lee could reach. On a windowsill, on stuffed animals and on a family picture of Patrick, Kelsey and Kaylee Frazee.
Lee thought that she would be the next person Frazee killed.
Then, Lee said, she thought about Berreth’s mother, as well as Berreth’s toddler, who was in a nearby room when her mother was bludgeoned to death.
“Her mom and that little girl never needed to see what Patrick did to her," Lee said. "And I didn’t know he was capable of that. I didn't think he was capable of what happened."
Over the next four hours, she cleaned the apartment from top to bottom — she filled six garbage bags with curtains, washcloths, toys and other items stained with blood that she couldn't clean.
Later that day, she accompanied Frazee to property he leased southwest of Cripple Creek, where he had stashed Berreth’s body in a tote atop bales of hay.
Frazee, she said, opened up about the killing.
“He just said he swung away, and that it was really hard," Lee said. Frazee added that using the bat "wasn't humane. And that in the future, he'd stick to normal weapons … the old fashioned way.”
Together, they drove Berreth’s body back to Frazee’s ranch, where Frazee put it in a metal bin, doused it with gasoline and motor oil and burned it.
Lee said she took Berreth’s cellphone, purse and gun back to Idaho on orders from Frazee, to make it appear Berreth had fled home and planned to take her own life.
Lee said she burned the cellphone and purse, and gave the gun to a friend.
Along the way, she said she turned on Berreth’s cellphone to make it appear she had traveled out of state.
“I saw some of those pictures,” Lee said. “And I knew there were people who cared about her. And people were going to look for her.”
Lee is expected back on the stand Thursday for cross examination by Frazee's public defenders.
The Gazette's Lance Benzel contributed to this report.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This story had been changed to remove an incorrect reference to Kenney, one of Krystal Lee's former names.