CRIPPLE CREEK, Colo. (AP) — A woman who was having an affair with a Colorado man accused of beating his fiancee to death and burning her body testified Wednesday that he called her on Thanksgiving Day and told her she had “a mess to clean up,” referring to the aftermath of the slaying.
Krystal Lee, who no longer goes by her former married name of Kenney, said that before the 2018 call, Patrick Frazee had asked her three times to kill Kelsey Berreth on his behalf, but she didn’t follow through. Berreth, 29, was last seen nearly a year ago with her baby near her home in Woodland Park, a mountain community of 7,500 people about two hours south of Denver.
Several searches, including one at a landfill, did not turn up any sign of her.
Lee, who worked as a nurse in Idaho, testified Wednesday that Frazee, 33, ordered her to poison Berreth with a cup of coffee laced with sleeping pills and anxiety medication, according to The Colorado Springs Gazette . Lee said she gave a coffee to Berreth but didn’t spike it.
She also testified that on two other occasions, Frazee gave her a baseball bat and a metal rod to beat Berreth. Both times she backed out, claiming she went to Berreth’s home only in case Frazee was watching her.
Prosecutors say Frazee personally told Lee he was responsible for Berreth’s death, and on Wednesday, she testified that Frazee told her Berreth’s last words were “Please stop.”
Frazee pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder, and Lee pleaded guilty to evidence tampering for taking Berreth’s cellphone to Idaho. She struck a deal with prosecutors and agreed to testify against Frazee, a man she said she fell in love with more than a decade ago and had a complicated relationship with over the years.
Frazee’s defense attorney, Ashley Porter, has questioned Lee’s honesty, saying she lied to the FBI by denying she knew Berreth.
“What they did not tell you is that Krystal did not go to police voluntarily. They had to track her down. … Before she says anything about this case, she cuts a deal, where she could spend zero days in jail,” Porter told jurors during opening statements Friday.
Earlier Wednesday, Lee testified that she fell in love with Frazee after meeting him at a county fair dance in Colorado in 2006, and they kept dating after she moved back to Idaho. They broke up the following year but kept in touch.
While she was dating her future husband, Lee said Frazee gave her a border collie puppy. After she refused to give it back or pay for it, she said he threatened to drive to Idaho to kill the dog.
Lee also said Frazee urged her not to get married, but she did in 2010 even though she still had feelings for Frazee.
“I felt like I was making the right choice, so I didn’t make the wrong choice. But I felt like my heart was in love with Patrick,” Lee said, according to The Denver Post .
She said she and Frazee reconnected in 2015, and she became pregnant with his child the following year. She had an abortion after she said Frazee implied that she should end the pregnancy. They continued to keep in touch, especially after she filed for divorce.
Lee said she continued to visit Frazee, but he did not tell her about Berreth or the daughter he had with her. She said she did not learn about them until a former boss told her.
Prosecutors have not offered a motive for Frazee to kill Berreth, but her parents argue in a wrongful death lawsuit that they believe he wanted full custody of the couple’s daughter.
Frazee would be sentenced to life in prison without parole if he is convicted of first-degree murder.
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