The Idaho nurse who pleaded to a lesser charge in exchange for testifying against Patrick Frazee took the stand at his murder trial on Wednesday, telling a rapt court that the Colorado rancher told her three times to kill Kelsey Berreth but that she couldn’t do it.
Finally, Krystal Lee — she said she no longer goes by her previous married name Kenney, The Gazette reported — said, Frazee called her repeatedly on Thanksgiving Day 2018. “He told me I have a mess to clean up,” she testified. According to the Denver Channel, Frazee persuaded Lee to drive from Idaho, and she left around 6 p.m. the day after Thanksgiving, arriving in Teller County about 12 hours later.
Lee testified that at first she thought Frazee was trying a fourth time to persuade her to kill Berreth, whom she said Frazee usually referred to as “the mother of my child,” but a conversation about half way through the night changed her mind.
“There were details enough to know that it probably did happen,” she testified, adding that he told her there was a lot of blood, mostly in the living room of Berreth’s townhome, and that she would have to clean some candles, make sure the bathroom “looked good,” and wipe away “the footprints” in the living room, she testified.
And just before the trial recessed for the day, she told the court that Frazee had specifically mentioned that she would have to find Berreth’s tooth that fell into a vent.
Although Berreth’s body has not been found — prosecutors believe Frazee, with Lee’s help, burned her body on the Frazee Ranch — Frazee has been charged with murder. Lee pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence in return for her testimony.
Prior to Lee’s testimony, an FBI member of a cellular data analysis team, Kevin Hoyland detailed the movements of three cell phones — Berreth’s, Frazee’s, and Lee’s — beginning just before Thanksgiving and ending a few days after, when Berreth’s phone pinged a cell tower for the last time.
Hoyland said Berreth and Frazee’s phones were both in Florissant, where Frazee lived on the day and evening before Thanksgiving, which matches with information previously released that Frazee wasn’t feeling well and Berreth went out to get him some medicine. On Thanksgiving morning, the phones were separate and communicating with each other, up until about 12:30 p.m., he said. Frazee’s phone resurfaces around 4:30 p.m., including a call to Lee in Idaho. Berreth’s phone pinged some of the same towers as Frazee’s, which Hoyland said led him to conclude the phones were together.
On Thanksgiving evening, the Frazee Ranch landline called Lee’s phone, and the conversation lasted about 45 minutes. There were more calls between Frazee’s phone and Berreth’s phone the following day, Hoyland said, but they were utilizing the same towers, again leading him to conclude that the phones were together. Meanwhile, Lee’s phone travels from Idaho to Colorado at approximately the time she later testified she made the drive. He also said her phone left the area around 7:30 p.m. on November 24 and arrived back in Idaho around 10:30 a.m. the following day.
In her morning testimony, Lee told the court how she met Frazee and fell in love with him in 2006 and that they continued an on-and-off relationship for some time, often with months or years between talking, the Denver Post reported. In 2015, she said, she began a serious affair with him, while married to another man, and became pregnant with Frazee’s child. When Frazee seemed displeased, she testified she had an abortion, but told Frazee she had miscarried. Shortly afterward, she learned that Frazee had a daughter with another woman — Kelsey Berreth.
She confronted him with the fact, and at first, she said, Frazee refused to talk about it. But soon he began to tell her that Berreth was abusive to their daughter, Kaylee, and that the girl was in “imminent danger,” and he “had to do something.” The first plan he gave her, Lee said, was a spike a coffee with a deadly drug cocktail in October. She visited Berreth, she said, but found she couldn’t go through with the plan. She testified that she told Frazee that Berreth must not have drunk the coffee, and it wasn’t long until Frazee began saying she would need to “redeem herself.”
In mid-October, she testified, while trying to convince him she couldn’t hurt Berreth, he handed her a pipe and told her to hit in the back of the head to “make sure there wasn’t a lot of blood.” She said she drove to Berreth’s home and again could not follow through, she said. She told Frazee there were too many people around. Frazee told her she had “one more chance” and handed her a baseball bat, she said. That time, she said, Berreth met Frazee to hand over Kaylee, and Lee drove to Berreth’s home. But once more she couldn’t bring herself to follow through, so she drove back to Frazee’s and later returned to Idaho.
She testified that she didn’t hear from him much after that, until Thanksgiving Day.
For the latest true crime and justice news, subscribe to the ‘Crime Stories with Nancy Grace’ podcast.
[Featured image: Kelsey Berreth Inset: Krystal Lee and Patrick Frazee]