TELLER COUNTY — The man accused of killing his former fiancée last November is back in court today for a final hearing before his murder trial.
Patrick Frazee, 33, faces eight total counts, including first-degree murder, for the killing of Kelsey Berreth. Berreth was last seen on Nov. 22.
The pre-trial conference hearing gives prosecutors and the defense a final chance to address outstanding motions before trial. It could also result in a plea deal. The hearing began at 9 a.m. at the Teller County Courthouse. Frazee's murder trial is set to begin on Oct. 28. The process, currently slated for three weeks, includes jury selection.
Prosecutors originally submitted a list of 255 possible witnesses, but today they informed the judge they've reduced that number significantly, in an effort to accomodate a three-week rather than a three-month long trial. A final list will be provided to the defense before jury selection, at the latest.
In regards to media coverage of the case, the defense requested the judge issues a gag-order on live reporting from the courtroom, including live-tweeting. News5 Sam Kraemer has used his account to keep our audience updated on the case constantly. There was also an objection raised by the defense about communications from the Teller County Courthouse by a spokesperson. Prosectutors argue restriction communication would cause issues as the courthouse staff is small, yet the media interest and constant phone calls take up a lot of their time.
The judge in the case will take that defense request under consideration and expects to issue a decorum order with expanded restrictions that will include media coverage and public communications by the court public information officer. Attorneys in the case will not be allowed to discuss the case with the media from now on.
Attorneys on both sides discussed several evidence motions, specifically related to character witnesses and alleged acts outside of this case, which they want to present at trial. Some pertain to Frazee's allege use of baseball bats and other devices on cattle, those motions were denied as they judge stated they are not relevant.
Statements from Cheryl Berreth, Kelsey's mother, will be allowed in court, specificall her statements about what she was told about her daughter's relationship with Frazee and possibly statements about Frazee's family. There's also potential evidence from people who worked with Kelsey who want to make statements about her relationship and conversations on the matter.
Prosecutors believe Frazee used a baseball bat to beat Berreth to death inside her Woodland Park townhome on Nov. 22.
The investigation revealed Frazee sought help from his girlfriend, 33-year-old Krystal Kenney of Twin Falls, Idaho, on several occasions. Kenney went as far as to meet Berreth at her home with a cover story, as part of a plot to kill Berreth with a poisoned coffee, but couldn't go through with the crime.
Kenney, however, is the main reason prosecutors believe Frazee killed Berreth. She provided the story, saying Frazee again sought her help to clean up the crime scene and burn Berreth's body to cover his tracks.
Kenney told investigators she intentionally left spots of blood for police to find inside Berreth's townhome. In addition, Kenney said she drove Berreth's cell phone to Idaho as a way of throwing off police at Frazee's direction.
In a plea deal with prosecutors, Kenney pleaded guilty to one count of evidence tampering in exchange for her testimony against Frazee. Her plea deal also bars her from speaking with the press.
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