Judge delays hearing of Colorado man accused of beating fiancée to death

Judge delays hearing of Colorado man accused of beating fiancée to death
Teller County Sheriff's Office via CNN
Patrick Frazee

A Colorado judge has postponed the hearing of a man accused of beating the mother of his child to death with a baseball bat.

Patrick Frazee was expected to enter a plea at the scheduled hearing on Friday, according to Dan May, the district attorney for Teller and El Paso counties.

But his arraignment was pushed to May 24 after the defense requested more time to go through more forensic testing, May said at a news conference following the court appearance.

The prosecution agreed to the delay.

“We are still waiting for some testing to be done on some of the evidence and we’d like to get more of that testing done before we hold arraignment,” the district attorney said. “… In our jurisdiction, by the way, almost every homicide case takes about a year or so to get to trial.”

Frazee faces two counts of first-degree murder in the death of his fiancee, Kelsey Berreth. She vanished Thanksgiving Day near Woodland Park, a city between Denver and Colorado Springs. She was reported missing 10 days later by her mother.

The 29-year-old’s body has not yet been found, but authorities do not believe she is alive.

Frazee was arrested and charged in connection with her death after a month-long search. He’s being held without bond.

In addition to the first-degree murder charges, Frazee faces three counts of solicitation to commit murder in the first degree, charges of tampering with a body, and two counts of a crime of violence.

Frazee was in court Thursday for another custody hearing regarding his 1-year-old daughter with Berreth, according to CNN affiliate KKTV.

The judge decided the child would continue to remain in the custody of Berreth’s parents at this time. Another hearing about the custody will be held in June.

Frazee tried to have fiancee killed three times, investigators say

Idaho nurse Krystal Lee Kenney, Frazee’s girlfriend, provided details of the November 22 killing during an interview with investigators.

Gregg Slater, an agent for the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, testified about his interview with Kenney at a preliminary hearing in Cripple Creek, Colorado, in February.

Kenney told investigators she was in a romantic relationship with Frazee beginning in early 2018.

She said Frazee killed Berreth by wrapping a sweater around her head and bashing her with a baseball bat, according to Slater’s testimony.

Kenney, who is cooperating with law enforcement, pleaded guilty to evidence tampering on February 8.

She said she wasn’t involved in the fatal attack, but the suspect ordered her to clean up the victim’s home afterward, Slater said.

Investigators search landfill for Berreth’s remains

As the murder case moves through the court system, investigators are still looking for Berreth’s remains.

Kenney told investigators that Frazee tried to enlist her to dispose of Berreth’s body in Idaho but she refused, according to Slater.

Kenney told police that after beating his fiancee, Frazee burned her body in a water trough before disposing of it either at a dump or in a river.

Kenney provided the information that helped lead investigators to the Midway Landfill in Fountain, Colorado.

Searchers have been sifting through the landfill but have not found anything so far.

Parents point to a possible motive

Berreth’s parents, Cheryl-Lee Ellen Berreth and Darrell Lynn Berreth, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Frazee and cited a custody dispute as a likely a motive in their daughter’s death. They said the suspect wanted full custody of their granddaughter, but Berreth would not agree.

Frazee told police he last saw his fiancee on November 22 when he picked up their daughter, making him the last known person to report seeing her alive.

District Attorney May would not comment on whether his office was pursuing a plea deal.