A neighbor’s surveillance camera “captured” Patrick Frazee at his fiancee’s front door 11 times on the day she was allegedly beaten to death in her living room, an investigator testified Monday.
The explosive claim capped the second day of testimony at Frazee’s first-degree murder trial. It is the first hard evidence thus far potentially putting the Florissant rancher at Kelsey Berreth’s Woodland Park townhouse on Thanksgiving Day, when she went missing.
Only the jury can decide if it’s a smoking gun, however. In each case, the man had his back to the camera — leaving 4th Judicial District Attorney’s investigator Chad Mininger to essentially assert that the person is Frazee.
The images were recorded between roughly 12:30 and 4:30 p.m. on the day Berreth, 29, went missing — lining up with claims by Frazee’s mistress, Krystal Lee Kenney, that Frazee killed Berreth before showing up for Thanksgiving dinner at his mother’s house that afternoon.
At roughly 1:30 p.m., the man investigators say is Frazee, 33, entered the home with Berreth, who was carrying poinsettias, and their infant daughter, Kaylee.
“This is the last image I ever recovered of Kelsey Berreth, period,” Mininger said. Investigators say she was never heard from after that.
And when the man leaves later that afternoon, he is seen carrying the baby, Mininger said. The person on camera is wearing a light-colored T-shirt and ballcap.
Mininger was the last of 13 witnesses to testify Monday, and he hasn’t been cross-examined, so the defense hasn’t had a chance to poke holes in his analysis. That’s likely to happen when he resumes the stand this morning.
Frazee’s attorneys could potentially attack Mininger’s identification or else argue that Berreth was not killed in her townhouse that day, as alleged.
The footage was captured by a home surveillance system installed by a neighbor, Mininger told the jury. To preserve memory, the system deletes the videos it records after seven days. But in this case, Mininger said he managed to obtain still images from the neighbor’s cellphone — left behind in the phone’s “cached” memory by automatic notifications she received through an application.
Mininger used a special device capable of searching phones, computers, drones and other devices for deleted content that remains even after it is deleted.
Before unveiling their strongest evidence of the day, prosecutors elicited testimony about Frazee’s “odd” and “paranoid” behavior as authorities and family members tried to find Berreth.
At Ent Federal Credit Union in Woodland Park, employee Patricia Key said she had a “very strange interaction” with Frazee when showed up with another man on Dec. 5.
Frazee asked her to show him surveillance images from the credit union’s ATM on Thanksgiving Day, asking if a child seat could be seen in his truck. He also wanted her to verify a purchase he made at a Walmart on the holiday.
In explaining his request, Frazee told her he had split from his fiancee, that she had gone missing on the holiday, and that he needed to assemble a timeline in case custody became an issue.
But a moment later, Frazee told Key that Berreth had talked to her mother on the Sunday after Thanksgiving.
“I stopped the conversation, because I said if she talked to her mother on Sunday then she wasn’t missing on Thanksgiving,” Key said.
Key said Frazee turned “abrupt” and shot back: “She didn’t talk to her mother on Sunday after Thanksgiving.”
“Well, you just said that,” she said she replied.
On Dec. 11, Frazee stopped into a Verizon store with a variety of questions about a second phone on his Verizon account.
“He specifically asked me if the other phone on his account was destroyed, if there would be a way to get information from it,” said David Felis.
During their encounter, Frazee seemed “paranoid” and “sketchy” and at one point asked him to step outside to discuss the issue further. Felis declined. He ended up relaying an account of Frazee’s visit to investigators.
The case against Frazee includes allegations that he stole Berreth’s phone after the murder, gave it to his mistress and directed her to drive with it to Idaho, where authorities say she destroyed it in her front yard.
The jury heard a 15-minute recorded phone call in which Frazee makes his first statements about Berreth’s disappearance, claiming she wanted the couple to “go their separate ways.” He said she asked for time to figure out her next move.
But Woodland Park police corporal Dena Currin said Frazee expressed no concern for Berreth’s welfare and that he was hazy on when he met with Berreth to pick up their daughter.
The jury also heard from Berreth’s supervisor at Doss Aviation, who called her an accomplished flight instructor beloved by her students — right up to the time when she abruptly said in a text that she was leaving Colorado. Prosecutors say the text was from Frazee or Kenney, and they sought to highlight differences in grammar and tone to prove it.
The defense through questioning drilled into why it took several days of searches in Berreth’s condominium before evidence of foul play was discovered.
Berreth’s brother, Clinton Berreth, testified that he and his mother stayed in Berreth’s town house for two days before he found something overtly troubling.
“I went out and told my mom that ‘I think there’s blood on the toilet,’” he told the jury.
The blood — a smear on the outside of the toilet — was hidden from view in a spot where the porcelain is curved, he said.
Prior to that, he noticed several things that seemed odd or out of place, including a broom on Berreth’s bed and the fact that her luggage and makeup were still in her home.
Several investigators testified that they didn’t see the blood because they were looking for Berreth, not a crime scene.
One investigator, Woodland Park police Sgt. Andrew Leibbrand, said the air was thick with a “pleasant” odor from a scented candle on a warmer.
Prosecutors said in their opening statement that Frazee confessed to Kenney that he asked Berreth to blindfold herself with a sweater and guess the scent of a scented candle — then beat her to death with a baseball bat.
Mininger is expected to resume his testimony about the neighbor’s surveillance pictures this morning.
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