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By Associated press
DENVER – A man beat his fiancée to death with a baseball bat after failing to persuade a woman with whom he had an affair to commit the murder, but then convinced her to help cover it crime by cleaning up the crime scene burned the remains of the victim, investigators said Tuesday.
Dramatic testimony at an audience in Colorado shows that the prosecutors' case relies heavily on the cooperation of Krystal Jean Lee Kenney, a 32-year-old woman from Idaho, who told police that Patrick Frazee had a romantic relationship.
Kenney has pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence and is required to testify against Frazee as part of his plea agreement with prosecutors.
The body of Kelsey Berreth, a 29-year-old flight instructor and mother of Frazee's granddaughter, has not been found yet.
Tuesday's hearing was held to determine whether Frazee will be judged. He was arrested for murder and other charges last December, about a month after Berreth was seen alive on Thanksgiving Day, November 22. Prosecutors have announced new charges this week, including for falsifying the body of a deceased.
Frazee did not plead in favor of any of these allegations.
According to several media, testimony at the hearing revealed that the police initially found no evidence of criminal wrongdoing in Berreth's home, but then discovered traces of his blood in the room. bath.
Colorado investigative officer Gregg Slater said on Tuesday that Kenney had told the police that Frazee had said Berreth had mistreated the couple's daughter. Slater said that there was no evidence that this was true.
Kenney added that Frazee had suggested many ways to kill Berreth, including poisoning his coffee or beating his head with a metal rod and a baseball bat, Slater said. Kenney told police that he was angry every time she did not follow his instructions.
Kenney received a call from Frazee on Nov. 22 asking him to travel to Colorado, Slater said.
"You have a mess to clean up," said Frazee according to Kenney's account.
Kenney told the police that she had arrived two days later and that she had discovered a "horrible" scene with blood splattered on the walls and floors of the Berreth townsite, Slater said.
Kenney told the police that Frazee had wrapped a sweater around Berreth's head before beating her to death with a baseball bat and hiding her body on a ranch. After cleaning the house, Kenney announced that she had gone to get Berreth's body with Frazee and that she had been seen by Frazee burning him with the baseball bat on his property, Slater said.
She said that Frazee later told him that he was planning to throw the remains in a dump or river.
Kenney brought Berreth's phone to Idaho, where she texted Frazee and Berreth's employer, pretending that the deceased woman then burned the phone, said the investigator.
Kenney told the police that she wanted to please Frazee and feared that it would hurt her family if she did not cooperate, Slater said.
The testimony did not reveal the prosecutors' theory as the reason for which Frazee allegedly killed Berreth. Her parents argue in a lawsuit for wrongful death that they think Frazee wanted full custody of the couple's one-year-old daughter. The child stayed with them during the course of the criminal case.
Investigators first reported that Berreth was last seen on a surveillance video with the couple's daughter in a grocery store near her home in Woodland Park, a mountain town near Colorado Springs. south of Denver. The police then found footage of a nearby surveillance camera showing Berreth, Frazee and their daughter at the entrance to Berreth Townhouse later in the afternoon.
Prosecutors' evidence also includes cell phone tower data, suggesting that Berreth's phone was in the possession of Frazee or Kenney after November 22, when Frazee told the police that he had seen Berreth for the last time.
Frazee, 32, has been imprisoned since her arrest.