COLORADO SPRINGS – New court documents in the case against a second suspect in the presumed murder of Kelsey Berreth reveal an attempt at using leverage, according to legal experts.
Krystal Kenney, 32, of Hansen, Idaho, faces one count of tampering with physical evidence. More specifically, prosecutors allege Kenney destroyed evidence related to the case on Nov. 24-25.
In Colorado, that’s a Class 6 felony — punishable by 12-18 months in jail, as well as fine between $1,000 and $100,000.
Dru Nielsen, Kenney’s defense attorney, filed a list of nine discovery demands this week. Nearly all of them focus on ensuring prosecutors turn over all information and evidence relevant to the case, so they can provide fair representation.
That includes information that could eventually lead to tossing out testimony from witnesses, based on certain factors. The document includes the demanded release of “Evidence that a prosecution witness has a motive or bias because he or she has entered into an agreement with the prosecution, received leniency from the state, or has outstanding litigation or cases with a prosecutorial agency…”
They also seek all handwritten or typed notes about this case from investigators.
But the final demand, the “Revocation of all releases and waivers and assertion of all rights and privileges”, shows the defense is looking to protect Kenney from overreaching prosecution.
“Ms. Kenney hereby revokes and rescinds all releases, waivers and authorizations for the release of information which she may have heretofore made, and she hereby asserts all of her rights and privileges under Colorado’s privilege rules, statutes and principles…,” Nielsen said in the document.
Stephen Longo, an attorney with McDivitt Law Firm, said it appears Kenney is trying to leverage her position as a possible key witness in the case against Patrick Frazee to try and get a lesser sentence in her case, if convicted.
“Her kind of reversing and not sure if she’s gonna enter a plea deal or recanting statements is interesting, because you wonder whether or not she just doesn’t like the plea deal she’s getting and wants to leverage her position as a key witness against the defendant,” Longo said.
It’s a tough spot for the prosecution. Longo said they need to keep Kenney on board as a witness, while still holding her accountable for the alleged crime.
“You need to get a plea agreement, or you want to get some conviction against her without compromising, ultimately, what you want to accomplish in the murder trial,” Longo said.
Prosecutors have not released information that would explain what evidence Kenney is accused of destroying. We do know Berreth’s phone pinged off a tower in Gooding, Idaho, on Nov. 25, three days after she was last seen publicly. That’s nearly 800 miles from Berreth’s home in Woodland Park, and close to where Kenney lives in Hansen, Idaho.
We will likely learn more when Kenney makes her first appearance in court on Friday at the Teller County Courthouse.
Frazee, who is Berreth’s fiancé and was arrested on Dec. 21, faces two counts of first-degree murder and three counts of solicitation to commit first-degree murder. He has a preliminary hearing in the criminal case against him on Feb. 19, when he’s expected to enter a plea and the evidence against him should be released to the general public.