DENVER – After urging a woman with whom he had an affair for several months to kill his fiancée, investigators said that a Colorado man had done it himself on Thanksgiving day, hitting her to death with a baseball bat.
The grim details revealed Tuesday in a Colorado courtroom constitute the first public account of what led prosecutors to accuse Patrick Frazee of murder and other charges for Kelsey's death. Berreth, the mother of his daughter aged one year.
Berreth, a 29-year-old flight instructor, was last seen on November 22 near her home in a mountain town near Colorado Springs, south of Denver. His body was not found.
Investigators testified that Frazee had begun planning Berreth's death in September and had enlisted a woman from Idaho who had told the authorities that they had been in a romantic relationship for several months before.
Krystal Jean Lee Kenney, a 32-year-old former nurse, told the police that Frazee had claimed that Berreth had mistreated the couple's one-year-old daughter. Police said that there was no evidence that the girl had been abused by her mother or anyone else.
Frazee has asked Kenney to kill Berreth three times, Colorado investigative officer Gregg Slater said on Tuesday.
According to Slater, Kenney said Frazee had suggested using a poisoned Starbucks drink in September. Kenney told the police that Frazee later told him to hit Berreth in the head with a metal pipe or a baseball bat.
Kenney said that he was angry whenever she did not act. She loved Frazee and wanted to make him happy but could not hurt Berreth, Slater said.
Kenney received a call from Frazee on Nov. 22 asking him to travel to Colorado, Slater said.
"You have a mess to clean up," Frazee said, according to Kenney's account to the police.
She arrived two days later and discovered a "horrible" scene with blood splattered on the walls and floors of Berreth's townhouse, 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 fetch Berreth's body with Frazee and that she had been seen by Frazee burning it on his property with the wooden bat, Slater said.
She said that Frazee later told him that he was planning to throw the remains in a dump or river.
Kenney has pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence and is required to testify against Frazee as part of his plea agreement with prosecutors.
After the day's hearing, Justice Scott Sells of Teller County found that there was sufficient evidence for Frazee to be tried for murder and other charges.
He was arrested last December, about a month after Berreth's last death 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.
His lawyers focused most of their questions Tuesday on Kenney's account.
The police acknowledged that Kenney had not seen Berreth's body or a baseball bat. They also claimed that Kenney denied knowing Berreth or having a personal relationship with Frazee when investigators contacted her for the first time in mid-December.
Defense lawyers also pointed to the lack of blood or other physical evidence found in the Frazee truck and questioned the Berreth family about access to Kelsey's housing estate after the police's first searches. The blood in the bathroom, identified as Berreth's, was discovered on December 6, a few days after the police handed over the property to his family.
In addition to Kenney's narrative, the prosecution's case relies heavily on data from mobile phone towers that indicate the physical location of Berreth, Frazee and Kenney phones. Investigators testified that the data showed that Berreth's mobile phone was still in the same location as Frazee's or Kenney's after November 22.
The hearing did not reveal why prosecutors believe that Frazee 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.