/Murder suspect wanted trial witnesses killed, inmate says in testimony

Murder suspect wanted trial witnesses killed, inmate says in testimony


At the trial of Patrick Frazee, a Colorado man accused of killing his fiancee, an inmate told the jury in bombshell testimony Friday that Frazee recently asked him to use his connections to a prison gang to kill a number of witnesses in the case.

Frazee is accused of attacking his fiancee Kelsey Berreth with a baseball bat at her Woodland Park, Colorado, home on Thanksgiving Day 2018 while the couple’s 1-year-old daughter, Kaylee, sat in a playpen in a back room.

Prosecutors allege Frazee, who’s on trial for murder, put 29-year-old Berreth’s body in a black plastic tote and burned it on his property.

But the defense has stressed that a body and a murder weapon have never been recovered.

PHOTO: The Woodland Park police department tows a truck down a private road from Patrick Frazees home in Teller County, Dec. 14, 2018.Andy Cross/Denver Post via Getty Images, FILE

The Woodland Park police department tows a truck down a private road from Patrick Frazee’s home in Teller County, Dec. 14, 2018.

The inmate who took the stand Friday said among the witnesses Frazee wanted killed was Frazee’s ex-girlfriend, Krystal Lee.

Lee, a star witness for the prosecution, has testified that Frazee called her to come to Berreth’s house, where she claims she cleaned up the bloody aftermath. Lee told the jury that Berreth’s last words, as told to her by Frazee, were “please stop.”

The inmate says he and Frazee were housed near each other in Teller County Jail for three weeks between Sept. 26 and Oct. 12, 2019. ABC News is not naming the inmate because he testified that he fears reprisals from members of his former prison gang.

The inmate said Frazee asked him about his tattoo representing a prison gang, and eventually asked him if he could help eliminate a number of witnesses set to testify against him.

“He would pass me notes if his information was too sensitive,” the man said, claiming Frazee told him he’d take care of him financially when he got out.

PHOTO: Patrick Frazee is seen heading into court.ABC News

Patrick Frazee is seen heading into court.

In court, Colorado Bureau of Investigation Agent Gregg Slater read from a number of those notes, which were written on paper towels and napkins. The notes, Slater testified, contained hit lists, along with detailed instructions on where to find the witnesses.

The hit list included Lee, her parents and her ex-husband.

I was kind of torn about what to do. I decided to come forward. It seemed like the right thing to do.

“They all need to disappear, unseen until 11/22 after the trial,” said the letter, which Slater testified appeared to be in Frazee’s handwriting.

“I’d really like to see Krystal with a bullet in her head,” read Slater from the handwritten notes. “No video, no weapon, no body, no forensics.”

The letters had instructions to flush them down the toilet after they’d been read.

“Flush when you’re done,” Slater read from one letter.

Instead, the witness kept the letters and presented them to investigators this week.

When questioned by the defense, the inmate admitted he wanted a plea deal in exchange for the letters and is hoping for a lighter sentence.

“I was kind of torn about what to do. I decided to come forward. It seemed like the right thing to do,” he testified.

A former homicide investigator took the stand earlier Friday, telling jurors that the amount of blood reportedly found in the victim’s home suggests it may have taken 10 to 15 blows from a baseball bat to kill the young mom.

PHOTO: Woodland Park police Chief Miles DeYoung speaks during a press conference at the Florissant Grange to update Kelsey Berreths disappearance case, Dec. 14, 2018.Andy Cross/Denver Post via Getty Images, FILE

Woodland Park police Chief Miles DeYoung speaks during a press conference at the Florissant Grange to update Kelsey Berreth’s disappearance case, Dec. 14, 2018.

“People aren’t easy to kill,” Jonathyn Priest said as he testified for the prosecution. “They’re very resilient. Beatings are nasty, in that they don’t have the effect that they have on television.”

Prosecutors on Friday showed photos depicting tiny drops of blood found on Berreth’s fireplace and chairs, as well as blood that appeared to have seeped down between hardwood floor boards that were later removed by investigators. Two “significant indentations” on one floor board, Priest testified, could have been created by the strike of a baseball bat.

During this testimony, the jury was shown body camera video recorded on Dec. 21 in which Lee guided investigators through the condo where Frazee allegedly beat Berreth to death.

PHOTO: Teller County Sheriff deputies lead Patrick Frazee out of the Teller County Courthouse in Cripple Creek, Colo., April 5, 2019.Christian Murdock/The Gazette via AP, FILE

Teller County Sheriff deputies lead Patrick Frazee out of the Teller County Courthouse in Cripple Creek, Colo., April 5, 2019.

The 15-minute video begins with Lee pointing out a spot where she says she found blood spatter on the rocks around the fireplace.

“Is that consistent with someone being beaten with a bat?” prosecutor Dan May asked Priest.

“Certainly it is,” Priest responded.

As Priest testified about the blood stains, Berreth’s father put his head in his hands and sobbed.

In the video, Lee walked investigators through Berreth’s kitchen, telling them how she wiped blood off of the stove and coffeemaker. She said she found blood on tinfoil that covered a pan of cinnamon rolls.

In one shot, Lee used a long piece of wood to point out where she said she found bloodstains high on a wall above the kitchen cabinets. Later in the living room, Lee told investigators she found blood on the drapes that she removed from the home.

Priest testified that the type of radiating blood patterns Lee described finding on the wall are consistent with what he called blunt force impacts.

When prosecutors showed a photo of the underside of a toilet bowl stained with blood, Priest responded, “Something bloody contacted this toilet.”

Lee, who has admitted to disposing of Berreth’s phone, has pleaded guilty to tampering with physical evidence. She is awaiting sentencing once Frazee’s case concludes.

PHOTO: This undated file booking photo provided by the Colorado Springs Police Department shows Krystal Jean Lee Kenney, who pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence in the disappearance of Kelsey Berreth.Colorado Springs Police Department via AP

This undated file booking photo provided by the Colorado Springs Police Department shows Krystal Jean Lee Kenney, who pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence in the disappearance of Kelsey Berreth.

During cross-examination last week, public defender Adam Steigerwald recounted the three times that Lee came to Colorado at Frazee’s behest when the defendant allegedly wanted her help killing Berreth. The public defender pointed out that if Lee had been charged with attempted murder and if convicted, she could have faced decades in prison.

Instead, prosecutors allowed Lee to plead guilty to moving Berreth’s phone, and now her worst-case scenario is three years in prison, the defense stressed.

Lee began to cry on the stand as Steigerwald repeatedly got her to admit that, even though she drove from her Idaho home to Colorado multiple times when Frazee allegedly wanted her help killing Berreth, she never took her suspicions to Berreth’s family, her own family or police.

“You were looking at essentially the rest of your life in prison,” Steigerwald said. “Instead, the district attorney allows you to plead guilty to moving Kelsey Berreth’s cell phone.”

“Your worst-case scenario is three years in prison, correct?” Steigerwald asked. “You could get probation with no jail.”

“Yes,” said Lee, through tears.

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