PowerPoint Presentation

A surveillance picture of Kelsey Berreth’s townhouse. (Courtesy of the 4th Judicial District Attorney’s Office)

A trove of evidence used to convict Patrick Frazee of murder was released Friday afternoon, exactly one year after Kelsey Berreth was brutally beaten to death in her Woodland Park townhouse.

The pictures and videos released by the 4th Judicial District Attorney's Office were among the major plot points of a trial that lasted more than three weeks — yet required only four hours of deliberations for jurors to return guilty verdicts against Frazee on six felony charges, including first-degree murder after deliberation. Frazee was later sentenced to life in prison plus 156 years.

The items included four videos, dozens of photographs and a detailed timeline of their case that investigators used to discredit Frazee's statements to authorities in the wake of Berreth's disappearance.

And they ranked as among the most important pieces of evidence submitted in a case that cast a national spotlight on tiny Teller County.

Over 10 days of painstaking testimony, investigators stitched together cell tower data and video surveillance evidence to pin down Frazee's movements during and after the killing. And they used Frazee's own words as related by his mistress, Krystal Lee, to detail a murder confession and his weekslong cover-up.

Lee, who previously used the last name Kenney, pleaded guilty to evidence tampering in exchange for her cooperation and faces up to three years in prison.

Not included in Friday's release were pictures of human tooth fragments found at Frazee's ranch in Florissant. Also left out were handwritten notes from Frazee allegedly requesting a jailhouse snitch to kill Lee — the star witness set to testify against him — and most of her family. 

Still, six pieces of evidence released Friday took outsized roles in prosecutors' push for a guilty conviction. Here's a look at those items, and how investigators used them to argue for a conviction:

Frazee's mistress comes clean

"This is where the burn occurred," said Krystal Lee, motioning her hands to a dirt patch on Frazee's gravel driveway at his Florissant ranch.

Until that moment on Dec. 21, 2018, investigators had little idea what became of Berreth's body. 

A previous search of Frazee's ranch came up empty for evidence of Berreth's disappearance. A team of dogs trained to detect decomposing human remains such as blood, bones or bodily fluids found nothing. And investigators found no signs of any past or present fires on the property.

But nearly a month after Berreth was last seen alive, Lee gave investigators the break they said they needed.

On video, and asked to recite a play-by-play account of the cover-up, Lee walked briskly to the spot in Frazee's driveway where she and Frazee parked after retrieving Berreth's body from a barn outside Cripple Creek.

Lee then took a few steps to a patch of discolored dirt — the spot, she said, where Frazee placed a dry, rusted water trough and filled it with wood pallets soaked in gasoline to burn Berreth's body.

The videos, which were captured by an investigator's body-worn camera, also showed Lee describing where she and Frazee gathered items for the fire throughout the ranch, including several wood pallets.

She also described personally throwing several trash bags of bloody items and cleaning supplies into the fire — all of which she took from Berreth's condo while wiping it clean of blood.

Included in the trash bags were bloodstained curtains, pillows, stuffed animals and wooden toy building blocks.

Detailing a cover-up

Another 18-minute video released Friday shows Lee pointing out spot after spot inside Berreth's apartment that she found covered in blood.

The video, captured from a body-worn camera and played for jurors near the end of the trial, offered a blow-by-blow accounting of the scene that Lee said she encountered upon entering Berreth's apartment two days after Berreth was beaten to death with a baseball bat.

Lee is seen pointing out bloodstains she found on a cinnamon roll pan, all across a living room floor and high on a kitchen wall — so high, in fact, that she needed to stand on the counter to clean it.

The video proved key in the subsequent testimony of a bloodstain pattern analyst, who attributed the widespread blood spatters to someone swinging a blood-soaked object repeatedly — maybe 15 times or more — against a body.

In clinical language, Lee recalled on camera the scene she encountered entering Berreth's condo.

"When I first walked in, I found blood all over the floor, I saw blood up the wall, I saw blood on this wall — that's what I first saw," Lee said.

PowerPoint Presentation

A surveillance picture of Kelsey Berreth’s townhouse. (Courtesy of the 4th Judicial District Attorney’s Office)

Berreth's last known photograph

What amounts to Berreth and Frazee's last photo as a family was captured by a neighbor's surveillance camera.

Standing at her front door, Berreth appears to hold a pot of ruby red poinsettia flowers while Frazee is behind her in a white T-shirt and tan ballcap. In a baby carrier between them, is their 13-month-old daughter, Kaylee.

The photo was taken from a surveillance camera from the bedroom window of a nearby townhouse — one that captured a series of pictures that investigators said clearly contradicted Frazee's account of his actions around the time of Berreth's disappearance.

Frazee told authorities that he last saw Berreth when the two exchanged Kaylee around 12:30 p.m. on Nov. 22, 2018.

But the surveillance photo of the family was timestamped 1:23 p.m. that day. Other pictures introduced at trial and released Friday show only Frazee with Kaylee at the condo's front door — each facing inside the condo three hours later, at 4:27 p.m.

223.JPG

A picture of blood stains on a floorboard pulled from Kelsey Berreth’s townhouse. (Courtesy of the 4th Judicial District Attorney’s Office)

Bloodied floorboards

The red stains were invisible to anyone walking over them.

But photographs released Friday of floorboards pulled from Berreth's condo show the unmistakable markings of blood having seeped between joints in her living room floor. DNA tests later confirmed that the stains likely came from Berreth's blood.

"To create this stain, that requires a significant blood source in order for the blood to flow in there. This is more than a drop of blood. This is a lot of blood," testified Jonathyn Priest, a retired police officer and bloodstain pattern analyst, at trial.

289.jpg

Investigators sift through an area where prosecutors say Patrick Frazee burned Kelsey Berreth at his ranch in Florissant.

An unearthed bonfire

It took only one swipe of a landscaping tool to reveal a black patch of melted plastic on Frazee's gravel driveway — the apparent remnants a crude coffin that Berreth lay inside when her body was burned the evening of Nov. 24, 2018, investigators say.

Buried under an inch or two of gravel, the plastic appeared to have resolidified after an intensely hot fire. On two ends of it was gravel that still appeared moist or clay-like — almost as if it had been saturated with motor oil, an investigator testified at trial.

The clues were all that remained of the fire that Frazee set to burn Berreth's body. In testimony, Lee claimed Frazee dragged a rusted, dry water trough used for horses to the top of his gravel driveway and inside it placed a black plastic tote containing Berreth's body. He then told Lee to look away while he opened the tote and poured gasoline inside.

He added wood pallets and lit it with a match — adding more wood soaked with gasoline to keep the flames rolling, and at one point adding a quart of motor oil to the blaze, Lee testified.

Other evidence released Friday included a picture of investigators uprooting the melted plastic and sifting through dirt at the site. 

One investigator testified that the last shovelful of dirt yielded their most ominous clue: Fragments of a human tooth.

A DNA expert later testified that the one fragment big enough for testing came from a human female. But the analyst couldn't say whether it belonged to Berreth.

Neighbor Surveillance_TOWER

A timeline of events of Nov. 22, 2018 compiled by investigators in the Patrick Frazee case.

(Courtesy of the 4th Judicial District Attorney's Office)

Play-by-play of a cover-up

About 225 entries — the vast majority of them cellphone records — comprise a meticulous play-by-play timeline of events released Friday by investigators.

Jurors heard each entry read aloud near the end of trial — a drumbeat of evidence that prosecutors used to disprove Frazee's theory that Berreth disappeared into the Pike National Forest to kill herself.

The timeline includes cellphone records that proved the phones for Frazee and Berreth were together for two whole days after Berreth was last seen alive in a Safeway surveillance camera image.

Defense attorneys are hardly surprised by the breadth and depth of the electronic evidence available to investigators, such as in Frazee's case.

Images and clues picked from society's surveillance net are typically the bread and butter of modern prosecutions, said Tracey Eubanks, a Colorado Springs defense attorney.

"If you don’t have it, it’s more telling of your particular case, because it’s so easy to get,” Eubanks said. "So if law enforcement hasn’t tried (to get surveillance data), then I think that that shows a lack of diligence on the part of law enforcement and the district attorney."

Contact the writer: 476-1654

Load comments