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Civil lawsuit against Frazee likely intended for answers, closure

Posted at 10:46 PM, Jan 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-01 13:12:14-04

COLORADO SPRINGS – Patrick Frazee is already expected to face a lengthy court battle, accused of murdering his missing fiancé Kelsey Berreth.

Now, the 32-year-old Florissant man is now facing a civil lawsuit brought by Kelsey Berreth’s parents.

The Teller County Sheriff’s Office served Frazee with the summons in jail Monday. He has 21 days to respond. If he chooses not to, the judge will issue a default ruling, demanding Frazee pay the requested relief starting at $75,000.

Patrick Frazee looks on in his first appearance in court on Dec. 31, 2018. He faces five murder counts, in addition to a civil lawsuit brought by Kelsey Berreth's parents.</p>

David McDivitt, vice president of McDivitt Law Firm, said the suit likely isn’t solely focused on money, noting Frazee’s current representation by a public defender. It’s a way to get closure for the family.

“What they were trying to do, I’m sure, is get answers, hold someone accountable, try to find some sense of healing, and that is going to be a long journey,” McDivitt said. “And this is just one kind of path along that journey.”

The lawsuit stands on four main allegations: wrongful death, negligence, civil conspiracy and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Berreth’s parents allege Frazee caused physical, emotional and mental harm on Berreth before, during and after her presumed death.

McDivitt said the civil case likely hinges on the criminal case’s discovery of evidence. Prosecutors have the power to decide whether to share that information.

Frazee is due for his preliminary hearing in the criminal case on Feb. 19, which is likely the same day the public will see what evidence prosecutors have against him.

Civil cases also often feature deposition, but McDivitt said not to expect Frazee to participate in an interview, exercising his fifth amendment right to refuse answering questions to avoid incriminating himself.

“You’re allowed to depose the person that you’re suing. And if there’s an ongoing criminal case, that person’s not likely going to sit for a deposition,” McDivitt said.