NewsCovering Colorado


Kenney’s witness role explains plea deal leniency, lawyer says

Posted at 10:51 PM, Feb 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-01 12:55:22-04

COLORADO SPRINGS – In the plethora of evidence released over the last 48 hours, it’s clear prosecutors are relying upon Krystal Kenney’s testimony in their case against Patrick Frazee for the murder of Kelsey Berreth.

Kenney explained how and where Frazee allegedly committed the murder on Nov. 22, described what he did to destroy evidence, saying he burned Berreth’s body on Nov. 24, and said Frazee tried having Kenney commit the murder four separate times before then. That information came through a four-and-a-half-hour interview of Kenney on Dec. 20, which was described in detail at Tuesday’s preliminary hearing.

“We wouldn’t even know where the murder happened in the apartment even, which room or where it happened at all, without her testimony,” said Dan May, district attorney for Colorado’s Fourth Judicial District.

<figcaption class="wp-caption-text" id="caption-attachment-172468">Krystal Kenney mug shot

The Idaho nurse, who said she began dating Frazee again in March 2018, was charged with one count of tampering with physical evidence in connection to moving and destroying Berreth’s cell phone, but the evidence shows she was clearly more involved than just that.

On Tuesday, prosecutors proved they have enough evidence to suggest Frazee committed the murder he’s accused of.

That included Frazee’s solicitation attempts toward Kenney. Three different times, Kenney drove to Berreth’s townhome to kill her with instructions from Frazee, she said.

Kesely Berreth<figcaption class="wp-caption-text" id="caption-attachment-114172">Kelsey Berreth was last seen in Woodland Park on Nov. 22nd.

Each time, she said she couldn’t do it.

“She did not comply with any of those, and at the last time when she was here on Oct. 21, she sat and said, ‘I can’t do this,'” said Jennifer Viehman, deputy district attorney and lead prosecutor in the case.

Many people have asked online why Kenney wasn’t facing more charges, based on these actions she admitted to. Under Colorado law, Kenney’s abandoning of those murder plans is actually a defense for attempted murder.

But David McDivitt, who worked as a public defender and is now vice president of McDivitt Law Firm, said she could have faced more charges.

“It looks like they could have really thrown some other stuff at her, given her involvement in helping plan out the commission of this crime,” McDivitt said.

McDivitt said prosecutors could at least have charged Kenney with conspiracy, since she knew about Frazee’s plans dating back to September. Kenney never told police, but her position as a key witness provided her leverage with prosecutors.

“A lot of their crucial evidence is going to be her testimony and what she’s able to show them, where she can take them, other evidence that maybe she can help uncover,” McDivitt said.

Kenney did have a follow-up interview with investigators on Dec. 21 that served as a ‘site visit’, according to CBI Agent Gregg Slater’s testimony in court on Tuesday. She led them to Nash Ranch, where she said Frazee briefly stored Berreth’s body, and then to Frazee and Berreth’s residences to show evidence of the crime and cover-up.

Patrick Frazee looks on in his initial court appearance on Dec. 31, 2018. Frazee is charged with five murder counts connected to the disappearance of Kelsey Berreth.<figcaption class="wp-caption-text" id="caption-attachment-138422">Patrick Frazee

As for the plea deal, Kenney agreed to talk with her attorney present on the understanding that she would be given incentive to do so. In exchange for her testimony against Frazee, Kenney pleaded guilty to the evidence tampering charge. She also agreed not to talk to the press about the case.

For those charges, she could face up to 18 months in jail. If the judge finds the crime aggravated, she could face three years in jail. Kenney will be sentenced after Frazee’s case.

Because the judge already accepted the plea deal, she won’t face any more charges, McDivitt said. The only way that deal could be tossed is if Kenney doesn’t uphold her end of the bargain.