CRIPPLE CREEK, Colo. — After she was questioned by the FBI about the disappearance of Woodland Park mother Kelsey Berreth, two women who worked with Idaho nurse Krystal Lee said she admitted to having some sort of involvement in the case.
“She said she’d gotten herself into something, in a bad situation,” said Alison Wright, who worked with Lee at the St. Luke’s Magic Valley Medical Center in Twin Falls, Idaho. “She asked if I had heard of the missing mom in Colorado, and I told her yes because it had been in the news, and she said she had gotten herself mixed up in that.”
Wright said Lee didn’t offer any details about what had happened or how she had been involved, only that “she did what she had to do to keep herself and her kids safe.” That conversation was on Dec. 26, 2018 — and Lee wouldn’t return to work again.
Lee has since pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence for disposing of Berreth’s cellphone, which last pinged in Gooding, Idaho — not far from the former nurse’s home. Wright was one of the first witnesses called to the stand during the second week of the trial against Patrick Frazee, who is accused of beating Berreth to death with a baseball bat and burning her body at his property in Florissant.
Frazee and Berreth have a young daughter together, who is now in the custody of her maternal grandparents.
Lee said she had an affair with Frazee, and that he had asked her to kill Berreth on three occasions. Lee said she couldn’t go through with it, but that on Nov. 22, 2018, Frazee did. That night, Lee said Frazee called her and told her to drive from Idaho to Colorado, alleging that she had a “mess to clean up.”
During her testimony in Teller County Court last week, Lee admitted to cleaning up a bloody crime scene inside of Berreth’s apartment, watching Frazee burn a tote that she believed contained the 29-year-old’s body, and then driving to Idaho with the victim’s purse, cellphone, and gun.
Det. Josh Hayes with the Twin Falls Police Department said investigators found two burn sites outside of Lee’s home with what appeared to be the charred remnants of cellphones inside. In addition to burning Berreth’s phone, Lee said she also burned her own. Hayes said that near the burn sites, he found what appeared to be a partially melted glass cellphone protector.
Lee had borrowed a friend’s Volkswagen to drive to Colorado to allegedly clean up the crime scene. That friend, Megan Garrison, was also called to the witness stand and identified her Passat in surveillance video taken outside a Florissant gas station on Nov. 24, 2018.
Garrison said she also exchanged text messages with Lee that made it appear that she was staying with her, instead of in Colorado. She admitted that this effectively served as an alibi if she was questioned by Lee’s ex-husband.
During cross-examination, Garrison said Lee had apparently loaded the gun she kept in her car. This is a different gun than the one Lee had brought to Idaho from Colorado, and gave to a friend. Lee claimed this gun originally belonged to Berreth.
On Tuesday morning, the jury also heard from Robert Slagle, who described himself as a “very good friend” of Frazee’s. After Berreth was reported missing, Slagle went to her condo to pick up a package that had been left on the doorstep. Previous testimony has revealed this was a Christmas ornament addressed to Frazee and Berreth’s young daughter.
After Berreth was reported missing on Dec. 2, 2018, by her mother, Slagle said he and Frazee went to multiple locations in an effort to establish a timeline for where he was on Nov. 22, 2018. One of these locations was a bank where Frazee asked for surveillance video of himself making a deposit.
In addition, Slagle said Frazee gave him a timeline of where he was that day. Prosecutors also handed him a handwritten sheet of paper that Frazee had apparently compiled. Frazee claimed that just after noon, he exchanged his daughter with Berreth in the parking area outside of her house. Fifteen minutes later, Slagle said Frazee said he went to the bank and then Walmart.
At 12:45 p.m., Slagle said Frazee told him he drove to the area of Lake George to check on cattle. Frazee said he left to go to Thanksgiving dinner at 3:45 p.m. and went home at 4:30 p.m.
Surveillance video, however, shows Frazee leaving Berreth’s house as late as around 4:30 p.m. that day.
“At no point in time did I hear him say he went into the home,” Slagle said.
Investigators searched Berreth’s home immediately after her family reported her missing, but additional evidence wasn’t found until Dec. 20 and the ensuing days — when Lee agreed to cooperate with law enforcement.
Tanya Atkinson, a crime scene investigator for the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, came to the condo on Dec. 6, Dec. 20 and Dec. 21. She said on Dec. 6, she saw what tested positive for blood on the bottom of Berreth’s toilet. This was first reported by Berreth’s brother, who was staying at the townhome during what was originally a missing person’s investigation.
On Dec. 20, Atkinson said she collected more blood samples, including on the chairs Berreth was using to prop up her television, the fireplace and a side table. She said she also saw evidence of what appeared to be wipe marks on the couch and television.
When the CBI took apart Berreth’s floorboards on Dec. 21, Atkinson said investigators found swaths of blood that had apparently seeped through into the wood.
These items were admitted to the jury as evidence.
During her testimony, Lee said Frazee told her that he beat Berreth to death with a baseball bat while she was blindfolded under the guise she was guessing the scent of candles. Lee said the crime happened in the living room, which is why the CBI began to take apart the floorboards.
The day they searched Berreth’s apartment again — Dec. 21, 2018 — Atkinson said she and other crime scene investigators went to the Nash Ranch. This is where Lee claims Frazee stored the tote containing Berreth’s body.
The jury saw a photo of a discolored hay bale found on the property. The black spot on the hay bale was measured to be roughly the same size as a tote found on Frazee’s property that prosecutors allege was similar to the one Lee claims Berreth’s body was stored in.
This was the last piece of evidence shown before the midday break. Frazee’s trial, which is in the beginning of week two, is slated to last for three weeks and potentially end on Nov. 22.
He is charged with first-degree murder, solicitation to commit first-degree murder, and tampering with a deceased human body.
Court will resume during the afternoon. 9NEWS is in the courtroom and will provide updates during breaks. Per a decorum order from the judge, live reporting from the courtroom is forbidden.
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