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Frazee's possible financial problems become focus of testimony

More documents in Frazee case to be released later this week
Posted at 6:57 AM, Nov 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-05 23:15:46-05

TELLER COUNTY — Tuesday marks day three of testimony in the murder trial of Patrick Frazee in Teller County. He's accused of first-degree murder for the death of his fiancee, Kelsey Berreth, despite investigators never recovering her body since she was last seen alive on surveillance video inside the Woodland Park Safeway on Thanskgiving 2018.

Possible financial problems for Frazee

Sean Frazee, the defendant's brother, testified that he and his siblings are still in a legal battle for their late father's assets with an estimated value of $400,000. Combine that with documents seized from the Frazee Ranch showing Patrick essentially defaulted on a $70,000 loan, and other papers showing a possible custody arrangement, a picture emerges of money problems.

A separate look at Kelsey Berreth's financial records shows Patrick sent her $700 a month in child support from October 2017 until July 2018, but the last payment was $150 short. Prosecutors haven't said verbatim, but it sure looks like they're pointing to struggling finances as a key player in the case.

Forensic investigator testifies about home surveillance

Testimony continues Tuesday in the murder trial of Frazee with the court hearing from a forensic expert with the District Attorney's Office.

Chad Mininger spent a significant amount of time tracking down surveillance images and video from the area around Berreth's home. Mininger said Frazee spent a lot of time at Berreth's home on Thanksgiving 2018, the last day she was seen alive.

His efforts included testing the ability of a neighbor's camera to capture him at varying times. Photos entered into evidence show Frazee at Berreth's door, first carrying a child and then him carrying an unidentified object.

The prosecution argues while the images may be distorted, it could show Frazee carrying a black tote container he's accused of using to transport Berreth's body. However, the defense argues you cannot see a tote in the images, pointing out shadowing on the camera that offers a distorted perception of the images.

First officer testifies on efforts to find Berreth

Corporal Beth Huber of the Woodland Park Police Department was the first officer assigned to do a welfare check on Berreth after the family called to report their concerns.

Huber said she entered Berreth's information into a database to alert local, state and national law enforcement as a missing person. She then spoke with Frazee who explained the couple was in the process of splitting up when he last saw her on Thanksgiving to exchange property and bring their daughter to Frazee.

According to the officer, Frazee said he did not know when Berreth left. Huber started on the path of obtaining information as if the disappearance may be a possible suicide, including contacting her employer about any known issues or insurance status and searching for her personal belongings - purse, keys, and gun - but not finding them.

Frazee told Huber he recently returned Berreth's revolver and ammunition to her.

Frazee's brother describes Thanksgiving 2018

Sean Frazee, Patrick's younger brother, was next on the stand Tuesday for testimonies. Sean is also a Colorado Springs Police Department officer.

He told prosecutors that he hasn't been close to Patrick for the two to three years. He said he met Berreth and Kaylee, Berreth and Patrick's daughter, shortly after she was born. Sean went to their mother's house for Thanksgiving 2018 with his wife and kids. He said Patrick was not at the home when he arrived at 2:30 p.m. and he was not there for dinner.

Sean said Patrick called around 4:30 p.m. to say he was on his way home and arrived around 5 p.m. with Kaylee. He said Patrick spent half the time he was at the home doing chores outside.

He mentioned their father passed on August 28, 2018, and that the kids were still going through his estate. Sean said there is about $400,000 at stake, including property.

According to Patrick's brother, Patrick told Sean on Dec. 3 over the phone that Berreth was missing. Patrick tells Sean that Berreth's mother reported her missing and that she was coming to town.

Sean also said that Patrick explained that Berreth's grandmother was sick and she may have been visiting her. He tells Patrick that he hopes and prays she'd be found alive and during the process, Sean said Patrick mentioned they separated but didn't indicate how long that had been.

He said Patrick mentioned Berreth was spending time in Pueblo, but didn't say who it was with when Sean asked.

Patrick's brother said he was with Patrick at Five Guys in Colorado Springs when police seized his phone. When asked by the defense why they were together, Sean said it was to deal with legal issues regarding the estate.

Assigned investigator with the case explains surveillance video

Stephanie Courtney is an investigator with the 4th Judicial District Attorney's Office. She's been there for seven years and works in the special investigations homicide unit. Courtney has been the assigned investigator for this case since Dec. 6.

Courtney is asked by Prosecutor Viehman about the volume of tips, photos and videos with the case. She said her role was to help with that and she became aware of the Williams Furniture Store surveillance video early in the case.

That store's surveillance video is what caught Frazee traveling back and forth from Berreth's townhome.

Courtney said she used that surveillance video to track Frazee's truck.

Frazee was seen headed north on Fairview toward Berreth's townhome around 12:30 p.m. One minute after Frazee, Berreth's truck is headed toward her home.

About seven minutes later, Frazee headed south on Fairview with a white dog carrier and black box in the cab. Later on using surveillance from the ENT ATM, the cab is determined to have a dog carrier and black tote.

Surveillance from the furniture stores shows the black tote in the back of Frazee's truck was moved between noon and 4:30 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.

Background

Woodland Park Police have not found Berreth's remains. Berreth, 29, is presumed dead after prosecutors said Frazee, 33, her fiancé, beat her to death on Thanksgiving 2018. 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. Click here to see the criminal complaint and arrest affidavit.

Cameras and any live coverage of the trial are forbidden per judge's orders. News5 will bring you the latest on-air and online as it comes in during breaks in the proceedings.

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Monday was filled with testimonies from Berreth's mother, brother, supervisor and among others.

Berreth's brother, Clint, explained how he found the blood on the underside of the toilet in her home. This turned the investigation from missing person to homicide. You can read more on his testimony and the rest of the testimonies from Monday here.

Based on opening statements, prosecutors plan to describe Frazee as a man who manipulated his fiancee, his girlfriend, his family, and those around him to get what he wanted. He's accused of asking his girlfriend, Krystal Kenney, to kill Berreth by using the argument that she was an unfit, abusive mother, and that their child would be safer with him.

On Frazee's behalf, the defense is arguing he is not the person who carried out this killing, citing how Kenney made a deal with authorities early in the case to avoid serious charges.

Click here to read opening statements made by prosecutors and the defense Friday.

The entire case is expected to wrap up before Thanksgiving week.

RELATED:
Visit our Frazee Trial section of the site for complete coverage
Breaking down the case against Patrick Frazee for the murder of Kelsey Berreth
Kenney primed for key witness role in Frazee murder trial
Berreths seek justice; Frazee supporters optimistic ahead of trial
Patrick Frazee arrested for first-degree murder in Kelsey Berreth case
Warrants reveal cell phone evidence in Frazee case
Arrest affidavit released in case against Patrick Frazee
Drone video shows area where investigators searched Frazee property
All public documents in the Patrick Frazee 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.