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Krystal Lee Kenney resentenced to 18 months in Kelsey Berreth murder case, released on parole

Krystal Lee Kenney had been serving a three-year prison sentence, but a judge threw it out earlier this year.

TELLER COUNTY, Colo. — The former Idaho nurse whose plea agreement in the Kelsey Berreth murder case was referred to as a "deal with the devil" by prosecutors has been resentenced to 18 months in the Colorado Department of Corrections followed by one year of parole. 

The department of corrections said Krystal Lee Kenney, 34, has now passed her mandatory released date based on the new sentence and she was released from prison on parole. She remains in Colorado, according to the DOC. 

Kenney has spent more than a year in prison after pleading guilty to tampering with evidence for disposing of Berreth's cellphone. In exchange, she was the star witness in the 2019 trial against the man who was convicted of the Colorado mother's murder.

Earlier this year, an appeals court ruled that Kenney should be resentenced because the three years she was supposed to spend in the Department of Corrections exceeded the maximum for the charge she had pleaded guilty to.

Judge Scott Sells, who imposed the original sentence, said he disagreed with the court of appeals ruling, though he would follow it. During Tuesday's hearing, he gave Kenney the maximum sentence possible.

“The court of appeals described the findings I made regarding your involvement when I imposed an aggravated sentence as ‘disconcerting,'" Sells said. “... I strongly disagree with their description of your involvement as ‘disconcerting.’ I find again, as I did at your original sentencing, that your actions were cold, calculating, cruel and devoid of any compassion of human life."

Kenney's new sentence starts on the same day as her previous sentence did, meaning she's served about 14 months of her now-18-month sentence.

> In the video player above, watch a 2020 9NEWS story where we spoke to the investigators who helped solve Berreth's murder. 

RELATED: Krystal Lee Kenney to be resentenced after taking plea deal following murder of Kelsey Berreth

Kenney's prison sentence was the culmination of a years-long on-again, off-again relationship with Patrick Frazee, who was convicted of first-degree murder and numerous other charges in Berreth's death.

Frazee and Berreth have a child together who is now in the custody of her maternal grandparents.

Berreth, who was 29 at the time of her death, was last seen alive on Thanksgiving Day 2018. Kenney testified that Frazee beat her to death with a baseball bat while their infant daughter was in the other room and then put her body in a black tote that he later moved to a ranch near Cripple Creek.

Credit: Berreth family
A composite of photos of Kelsey Berreth, a 29-year-old Colorado mother who was murdered on Thanksgiving Day 2018.

Before the murder, Kenney said Frazee had asked her to kill Berreth on multiple occasions, but she never went through with it, and that she had been spending Thanksgiving at her home in Idaho. 

But, when Frazee called her and told she had a "mess to clean up," Kenney said she made the long drive to Colorado and scrubbed down Berreth's home in Woodland Park. 

RELATED: Newly released video shows Krystal Lee giving police a walk-through of Kelsey Berreth's condo

She said that she later watched Frazee burn Berreth's body at his family's ranch in Florissant before she drove back to Idaho with the victim's cell phone, which she used to send texts aimed at deterring law enforcement. 

Investigators were able to connect Kenney and Frazee using cell phone data, and they said they weren't aware of the scope of her involvement until after they had agreed to the plea deal. 

Credit: Courtesy Colorado DOC
Krystal Lee Kenney has been sentenced to three years in the Colorado Department of Corrections for the murder of Kelsey Berreth.

Prosecutors asked that Kenney receive the maximum sentence possible for her role in the crime, and during her initial January 2020 sentencing, the judge agreed.

“To consider probation would minimize the depravity of your actions,” Judge Scott Sells said during Lee’s sentencing. “Simply saying ‘I’m sorry’ is not enough. Your actions deserve the maximize sentence permitted by law.”

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