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Prosecutors call Berreth's mother as opening witness in murder trial

Cheryl Berreth
Live blog: Patrick Frazee appears in court for preliminary hearing
Kelsey Berreth
Kenney’s witness role explains plea deal leniency, lawyer says
Posted at 10:36 AM, Nov 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-02 00:19:45-04

TELLER COUNTY — The mother of missing and presumed dead Kelsey Berreth was the first witness called Friday in the murder trial of her fiance Patrick Frazee. Court proceedings got underway this morning soon after a jury was seated in the case.

Cheryl Berreth struggled to contain her emotions on the stand as she described her daughter's upbringing in Washington state and a lifelong desire to become a pilot. Kelsey Berreth moved to Colorado within a year after starting a relationship with Patrick Frazee. Kelsey worked in Grand Junction, Falcon and Pueblo as a flight instructor. Cheryl describes her daughter's relationship with the Frazee family as never being good, with the family viewing Kelsey as a "hooker" because she would arrive at the family property late at night due to her work hours.

According to the mother, the relationship worsened after Kelsey told the family about her pregnancy in the summer of 2017. She explained how her daughter was thrown out of the house and forced to move in with a coworker. Fast forward a year later when Frazee and Berreth's daughter had just turned one year old, and Cheryl Berreth describes her daughter visiting a clinic in California to help address mineral deficiency. Soon after, Kelsey started working less to spend more time with her child. She and Frazee continued to live separately.

Cheryl Berreth told the court the last time she spoke to her daughter was on Thanksgiving morning in 2018, yet their conversation was cut short as Kelsey had to change the infant's diaper. Later that day she accidentally dialed Kelsey's phone and received a text that she would call back the next day. Several follow-up attempts to connect were unsuccessful.

Soon afterwards Patrick Frazee called Cheryl to inform her Kelsey had moved out, according to the testimony. The mother explained that was odd as she had heard nothing beforehand and maintained a close relationship with her daughter. Eventually the Berreth family decided to contact Woodland Park Police out of concern for Kelsey's well being. Officers never found anything out of the ordinary.

On December 3rd, Kelsey's mother and brother came to town to look for her. Cheryl explains finding both of her daughter's vehicles at her townhome, along with all of her luggage, makeup, and toiletries. She told the court she immediately noticed Kelsey's purse, phone and keys were missing. There were other things out of place including baby toys missing from the home.

During opening statements, the lead prosecutor explained how Kelsey Kenney, Frazee's girlfriend, says she was called to Berreth's townhome to clean up a lot of blood. Read more on this below within the prosecution's opening statements.

Today's testimony wrapped up with a photo of cinnamon rolls left on the stove that were "hard as rocks", according to Cheryl Berreth. The trial will continue on Monday with more testimony from Cheryl Berreth.

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Prosecution opening statements

Opening statements are underway this afternoon at the Teller County courthouse in the murder trial of Patrick Frazee, accused of killing his fiancee in November 2018.

Prosecutor Jennifer Viehman started strong by outlining a complicated relationship between Frazee and Kelsey Berreth, who never lived together despite having a child together and living in the same county. She claims Frazee consistently manipulated those around him by painting a picture of Berreth being a bad mom, alcoholic, and abusive to their infant daughter Kaylee.

As we learned earlier this year, he's accused of soliciting his girlfriend, Krystal Kenney,on at least three occasions to kill Berreth. “All you gotta do is hit her in the head and put her in the trash can,” Viehman says, attributing to Frazee. When Kenney refused, Frazee is accused of telling her, “I guess I just care more about Kaylee than you do, and if something happens to Kaylee, it’s on you Krystal,” per Viehman. The prosecution made a deal with Kenney to testify in the case. At some point, we expect to hear testimony about how she feared for her family's safety from Frazee.

Viehman explains the prosecution's case that roughly an hour after Berreth was seen on Safeway surveillance video, she was killed by Frazee inside her Woodland Park townhome. He allegedly texted Kenney to tell her, “You’ve got a mess to clean up. I need you to get out here now," with the meaning implied.

Prosecutors say Kenney entered Berreth's home to find blood on the floor, walls, baby toys, baby gate, fireplace, and “a pool of blood in the living room." Evidence to be presented shows a picture of torn up floor boards, a picture of a small spot of blood on the fireplace, a picture of blood on couch with wipe marks, a picture of blood on baby gate, a picture of blood on the toilet. The crime scene reportedly took hours to clean up, based on Kenney's statements to investigators.

To date, investigators have not recovered Berreth's body.

Frazee is accused of of burning Berreth's body on his family's property after Kenney refused to drive it to Idaho. She reportedly did take Berreth's phone out of state. In the days after Berreth's disappearance, prosecutors say Frazee never tried to call Kelsey's phone, but contact Kenney 46 times.

Defense opening statements

The defense began their opening statements they stated the facts in the case, as presented by prosecutors, do not make sense. The argument being Patrick Frazee did not commit this murder.

“What they did not tell you is that Krystal did not go to police voluntarily. They had to track her down,” defense attorney Ashley Porter says. She pointed out Kenney’s lies to the FBI when she denies even knowing Berreth. Porter cites the second time the FBI meets Krystal at her home she has hired an attorney. “Before she says anything about this case, she cuts a deal, where she could spend zero days in jail,” Porter says.

Attorneys for Frazee argue he has no motive, no body has been recovered, and investigators have not recovered an alleged murder weapon. However, Kenney has admitted to bringing a full body protective suit, bleach, cleaning supplies, and borrowing her friend’s car to drive to Woodland Park to clean up the bloody scene at the townhome. Porter points out that despite the horrific scene Kenney describes, there are only tiny spots of blood found by investigators.

As opening statements have wrapped up, attorneys are in the process of calling the first witnesses in the case.

Cameras and any live coverage of the trial are forbidden per judge's orders. News5's Sam Kraemer is covering the trial during breaks in proceedings. Be sure to follow him on social media for the latest.

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Jury selection concludes

The jury has been finalized for the murder trial of Patrick Frazee. Ninety potential jurors arrived at the Teller County courthouse Friday morning to be questioned and selected for the 12-person jury. The jury was finalized around noon to 16 people, with four serving as alternates.

“Our goal is to select a fair jury.. not a fast jury,” Judge Scott Sells said, citing the massive amount of publicity.

Frazee was in the courtroom during this process.

Both the prosecution and defense had one hour each to question the potential jurors. Prosecutors asked the jurors questions, such as whether they think people should be held accountable and whether they are comfortable leaving this case with some doubt but not reasonable doubt.

Four jurors said they had second thoughts about being impartial. The jurors were asked by the defense if they believe Frazee will have a fair trial after the attention his case has received. They were also asked if when they read or see cases like this, do they assume the spouse is the automatic suspect.

Many of the jury prospects have said they’ve spent more time thinking about the enormity and time commitment of the case. Most of them are understanding and want the responsibility.

In December of last year, Patrick Frazee was arrested and charged with first-degree murder and solicitation to commit first-degree murder.

He faces eight total charges — two counts of first-degree murder, three counts of solicitation to commit first-degree murder, one count of tampering with a deceased human body and two counts of a crime of violence — for the presumed murder of Kelsey Berreth on Thanksgiving 2018.

Sells said he expects the trial to last three weeks. Seven women and five men are on the jury. Two men and two women are set as alternates for the trial.

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