Colorado prosecutors called Kelsey Berreth’s mother to the stand on Friday, the first witness in the murder trial of rancher Patrick Frazee, accused of killing Berreth, with whom he had a child, on Thanksgiving Day last year.
Kelsey Berreth is missing and presumed dead. Frazee pleaded not guilty to multiple charges, including first-degree murder, tampering with a deceased body, and solicitation, according to KOAA.
In emotional testimony Cheryl Berreth described her daughter’s fraught relationship with Frazee and his family, especially after she told them she was pregnant in 2017. According to the Denver Post, Berreth said her daughter had tried to make things work with Frazee despite a complicated relationship with his relatives. She described calling Kelsey on Thanksgiving morning, having an abbreviated conversation, and never speaking with her daughter again.
Frazee, she said, called a few days later to say that Kelsey had moved away, which Cheryl Berreth could not believe because she had a close relationship with her daughter. On December 3, she said that she travelled to Colorado from Washington state, where she lived and where her daughter had lived until meeting Frazee online, and found both of her daughter’s vehicles, her luggage, makeup, and toiletries at her home. Missing were her keys, purse, and phone.
Berreth’s testimony will continue on Monday in Cripple Creek. She took the stand after the end of jury selection Friday morning, as CrimeOnline previously reported, and the attorneys’ opening statements in the afternoon. The judge in the case has banned cameras, a sketch artist, and live reporting about the trial, including Twitter.
Prosecutor Jennifer Viehman laid out her case in her opening statement, telling jurors that Frazee spent months “poisoning” friends and family against Kelsey Berreth, telling them she was an alcoholic and was abusing their child, the Denver Channel reported. And he tried to talk his girlfriend, Krystal Kenney, into killing her. Kenney pleaded guilty to a tampering charge and agreed to testify at Frazee’s trial.
Viehman said prosecutors believe Frazee killed Kelsey Berreth with a baseball bat after Kenney failed to accomplish the task. They accuse him of burning Berreth’s body on his family’s property and texting Kenney to clean up the blood left behind in his townhome. And, they said, he never tried to phone Kelsey Berreth — Kenney says she took it out of state — but did contact Kenney nearly 50 times in the days after Kelsey’s disappearance.
Frazee’s attorney, Ashley Porter, painted Kenney as a liar and noted that no body or weapon has been found.