A woman who helped her lover conceal the murder of pregnant Colorado mom Kelsey Berreth and then served as a key witness against him was sentenced Tuesday to three years in prison.
Krystal Jean Lee Kenney’s punishment followed her guilty plea in a Colorado court to witness tampering in the case, reports Denver TV station KUSA.
Berreth was killed in 2018 by her fiancée, Patrick Frazee. After the killing, Kenney sent misleading texts from Berreth’s phone to delay and throw off investigators early in the search after the victim was reported missing. Kenney also destroyed Berreth’s phone.
Kenney, a nurse who lives in Idaho, also testified at Frazee’s trial that she was pressed by Frazee to clean up blood at Berreth’s Woodland Park condo after Frazee beat Berreth to death with a bat, and that she was present when Frazee burned Berreth’s body on his property.
She did not initially report the crimes, she said, because she feared for her own safety.
Frazee was convicted last November and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for Berreth’s murder. He also was found guilty of tampering with a deceased human body and three counts of solicitation to commit first-degree murder after deliberation.
Kenney was a key witness at Frazee’s trial as she described for jurors the 13-year-relationship she had with Frazee leading up to and after the Thanksgiving Day 2018 disappearance of Berreth, a flight instructor with whom Frazee has a young daughter, according to The Denver Post and TV stations KMGH and KUSA.
Kenney alleged in testimony that Frazee claimed to her that Berreth was abusing the child, and that he wanted Kenney to help him kill Berreth.
“He went from being someone who I loved and cared for and is one of my best friends,” she said during the trial. “And he said his little girl was being abused. I know it was wrong, but I didn’t know what to do and I didn’t make the right decisions.”
During Frazee’s trial, Kenney described an on-and-off relationship with Frazee that began in 2006 and lasted through Kenney’s failed marriage to another man. At one point, she said, she became pregnant with Frazee’s child, but she aborted the pregnancy at Frazee’s request.
She said she later learned through a third party that Frazee and Berreth were dating and had a daughter.
In September 2018, Frazee alleged to Kenney that Berreth was abusing the girl, a claim that prosecutors said they were unable to verify. “He wanted [Berreth] to not be a problem anymore,” Kenney testified, alleging that Frazee asked her what combination of drugs might kill someone.
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That conversation led to a ruse in which Kenney, urged on by Frazee, knocked on Berreth’s door and tried to hand Berreth a cup of coffee, which Kenney said Frazee had told her to lace with sedatives. “I didn’t want to harm Kelsey,” said Kenney, who delivered the coffee without the sedatives. “I wanted to form an opinion [about her].”
The following day, Frazee allegedly called Kenney to ask why Berreth was still alive, she testified. Weeks later, she alleged Frazee gave her a metal pipe and told her to use it to hit Berreth on the head. Kenney said she drove to Berreth’s residence, but then returned to Frazee’s home and left the pipe in his driveway.
Frazee again called her in anger. He subsequently told Kenney that she should wait outside Berreth’s condo with a baseball bat and “swing away,” which Kenney refused to do, she said.
“He told me that he was going to hold my feet to the fire,” she said. “That if something happened to [his daughter], it was on me, it was my fault.”
But she didn’t alert police. “I didn’t want him in trouble, he was a good parent, I was hoping it would just go away,” Kenney testified. She also feared for her own safety, she said.
On Nov. 4, 2018, Frazee allegedly called Kenney to say he was going to act on his own — and on Nov. 22, Thanksgiving Day, when Berreth was last seen on store surveillance video shopping with the couple’s daughter, he called Kenney again and “told me ‘I had a mess to clean up,’” she testified.
Two days later, Kenney said she retrieved the keys to Berreth’s condo from Frazee’s Florissant ranch and went to Berreth’s home to find the bloody scene. She said that while cleaning, she intentionally left some specks hoping that investigators might find them. Meeting Frazee afterward, she alleged he asked her, “Did you get it done?”
“I did the best I could do,” she said she replied.
“You better hope you did,” she alleged Frazee said, “because our lives depend on it.”
Kenney told police that Frazee beat Berreth to death on the day she vanished after he convinced Berreth to don a blindfold for a candle smell test. Kenney and Frazee both were present two days later as Frazee burned the victim’s remains along with the baseball bat on Frazee’s ranch, prosecutors said.
Investigators said Frazee and Kenney further conspired to move Berreth’s cell phone in the aftermath of her killing, to further delay and confound a search for her after Berreth’s mother reported her daughter missing on Dec. 2, 2018.
Kenney pleaded guilty in February to tampering with evidence, admitting that she helped dispose of Berreth’s phone for Frazee. As part of her guilty plea she agreed to testify against him, but prosecutors deliberately withheld her sentencing until after Frazee’s trial.
Her three-year prison sentence was the maximum she faced for her crime.