CRIPPLE CREEK — A judge denied prosecutors’ last-minute bid to air accusations at trial that Patrick Frazee bludgeoned a cow sometime before investigators say he beat his fiancee to death with a baseball bat at her Woodland Park townhome.
The ruling by 4th Judicial District Court Judge Scott Sells highlighted a flurry of moves by prosecutors and defense attorneys in Frazee’s final court appearance before the Florissant man heads to a nationally watched trial this month.
Investigators suspect Frazee killed his fiancee, Kelsey Berreth, 29, blindfolding her with a sweater in her townhome last November and beating her to death with a baseball bat while their toddler daughter was in a nearby room.
Investigators say he later doused her body in gasoline and burned it in a tote on the Florissant property where he lived with his mother.
Berreth’s remains haven’t been found, despite a two-month search of the Midway Landfill in Fountain. Investigators have only found residue of an accelerant at the Florissant ranch where investigators allege Frazee burned Berreth’s body.
In May, Frazee pleaded not guilty to several felony charges, including first-degree murder, solicitation of murder and tampering with a body. Jury selection is set to begin Oct. 28, less than a year after Berreth’s killing.
On Friday, Sells said prosecutors won’t be able to detail allegations at trial that would have painted Frazee as someone with a violent history — including beating animals and being unsafe around children. Prosecutors talked with someone who claimed Frazee previously bludgeoned a cow with an object resembling a bat, 4th Judicial District Attorney Dan May said during the hearing.
Another similar incident involving alleged mistreatment of cattle so concerned one fellow rancher that the person said they would never let Frazee have anything to do with their livestock, May said.
Prosecutors also asked to air one person’s concerns about the safety of children around Frazee.
Sells quickly dismissed those motions — saying they would unjustly turn the jury against Frazee.
“I just don’t think that’s relevant to this case,” Sells said.
The rulings came as defense attorneys complained of an onslaught of new evidence in the case — even as they bristled at the notion of delaying the trial.
Since Sept. 25, Frazee’s defense team has received 6,000 pages of new evidence in the case, including 220 photographs, 45 gigabytes of files extracted from computers and 1,000 pages of reports from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, said Frazee’s public defender, Adam Steigerwald. They also recently received more than 18 hours of jail phone call recordings.
“A couple things trickling in late happens,” Steigerwald said. “I’m talking about a year’s worth of work that I’ve gotten in the last two weeks.”
Prosecutors denied hiding evidence — claiming they also were only just getting new information in a quick-moving case. “Every time we get something, we immediately turn it over,” said Jennifer Viehman, senior deputy district attorney. “So we’re not holding onto any information, we’re not holding anything back.”
Among the late-arriving evidence was a slew of comments apparently made by Berreth to her mother and to coworkers in the days and weeks before her killing. Together, they painted a picture of Berreth being concerned about her increasingly rocky relationship with Frazee.
Sells will allow prosecutors to present many of the hearsay comments once the trial gets underway, including comments by Berreth to her mother that she was considering leaving Frazee.
Berreth also told someone that she had recently been gifted a cup of coffee, which she considered strange.
The detail stood out for its connection to earlier allegations that Frazee instructed his mistress to poison Berreth with a cup of coffee.
The mistress, Krystal Jean Kenney, went so far as to knock on Berreth’s door posing as a neighbor with a caramel macchiato from Starbucks — Berreth’s favorite drink — according to Kenney’s previous testimony. But the drink she handed Berreth wasn’t drugged, as originally discussed.
Kenney pleaded guilty in February to tampering with evidence, and she is expected to be sentenced after Frazee’s trial. Kenney also admitted helping throw investigators off the case by taking Berreth’s cellphone to Idaho after the killing and allowing it to ping off cellphone towers along the way.
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