Judge Scott Sells sentenced Patrick Frazee to life in prison without parole plus an additional 156 years after a jury took less than four hours to find the Colorado rancher guilty of killing his fiance and burning her body to hide the crime a year ago.
Kelsey Berreth spent her last night “caring for you, and you viciously beat her to death the following day,” Sells said, after order Frazee to stand, KOAA reported. “After you beat her, you burned her body like it was trash. Kelsey Berreth was a wonderful mother, beloved daughter. Your crimes deserve absolute max punishment, and I intend to do that.”
Before Sells handed down the sentence, Berreth’s family said they intended to start an aviation scholarship in honor of their daughter — which they wanted Frazee to contribute to annually — and Cheryl Berreth, Kelsey’s mother, said she intended to work on adopted the daughter Frazee and Berreth had together before the murder, 2-year-old Kaylee.
“Patrick, how would you like to find out that your daughter’s life ended the way that you ended Kelsey’s?” Cheryl Berreth said in a statement read by her brother, Scott Morin, during victim impact statements, according to the Denver Post. Cheryl Berreth also asked that Frazee’s family have no contact with them or Kaylee since they chose “to support a killer.”
Morin read letters from other friends and family members, who described Kelsey as “proud mother” who loved her daughter “with all her heart,” a delightful friend who was always smiling, and a “natural pilot” and superb instructor to her aviation students, the Denver Channel reported.
Before the sentencing, and after the jury had left the room, Berreth’s family sobbed.
The jury found Frazee guilty on all six counts against him: two counts of first degree murder, three counts of solicitation — for the three times he tried to get his mistress Krystal Lee to kill Kelsey — and one count of tampering with a deceased body. The two murder counts were merged, with a mandatory life sentence, and Sells gave him the maximum 48 years each for the solicitation counts and 12 years for the tampering count. All the sentences are to run consecutively.
“Your actions were vicious, senseless, without reason or explanation,” Sells told the defendant, the Pikes Peak Courier reported.
Kelsey Berreth was last seen on Thanksgiving Day last year, when she appears in surveillance video near her townhome and in surveillance footage from a neighbor’s security camera that showed her and Frazee at her home. He arrived late for dinner at his mother’s home, with then 1-year-old Kaylee. Kelsey was never seen again, as CrimeOnline reported previously.
Testimony in the 10 day trial came to end on Friday, and the two sides presented closing arguments Monday morning. Prosecutors reviewed their lengthy case, featuring more than 60 witnesses — law enforcement officials, cadaver dog handlers, friends, family, and co-workers of Kelsey Berreth, friends of Frazee, and Krystal Lee (who went by the last name Kenney at the time of the murder).
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Lee pleaded guilty on a count of tampering with evidence and testified for two days, detailing how Frazee told her to kill Kelsey Berreth three times, first with poisoned coffee, then with a pipe, and finally with a baseball bat. And she told how Frazee called her on Thanksgiving Day last year to say she had “a big mess to clean up” — the murder scene in Kelsey’s townhome. Lee did so, and then she helped Frazee dispose of Kelsey’s body. Less than a month after Kelsey’s disappearance, Lee had told investigators her story and led them on a tour of Kelsey’s home and the field where Frazee burned the body and the evidence.
“Krystal Kenney didn’t have to come forward. She could’ve stayed silent. But when she did come forward, she told us everything, including the things that subject her to criminal prosecution,” prosecutor Beth Reed told the jury, adding that the physical evidence corroborated Lee’s entire story, according to KOAA. “Do you know how much of the defendant’s story is corroborated by evidence? Zero.”
Frazee’s attorney Adam Stiegerwald tried to discredit Lee, calling her “untrustworthy” and the evidence against his client “circumstantial.” In the end, however, the jury started deliberations at 11:18 a.m. and returned with their guilty verdicts at 2:45 p.m.
Lee faces up to three years in prison when she is sentenced later this year.
For the latest true crime and justice news, subscribe to the ‘Crime Stories with Nancy Grace’ podcast.