DENVER (Reuters) – Jury choice began on Monday within the homicide trial of a Colorado man accused of beating to demise his fiancée with a baseball bat and burning the younger mom’s physique, which has by no means been discovered.
Patrick Frazee, 33, has pleaded not responsible to first-degree homicide and solicitation to commit homicide stemming from the disappearance and presumed killing of Kelsey Berreth final November in Woodland Park, Colorado, about 90 miles southwest of Denver.
If convicted of first-degree homicide, Frazee, who has been held with out bond since his arrest in December, faces a compulsory jail sentence of life with out the potential for parole.
Berreth, 29, was final seen publicly on Thanksgiving Day of 2018 when she was captured on a safety video getting into a Woodland Park grocery retailer with the couple’s then 1-year-old-daughter, Kaylee.
The choose has issued a gag order within the case, barring attorneys from each side from discussing the case outdoors of court docket.
In keeping with an arrest warrant affidavit, Krystal Kenney, an Idaho nurse who had a relationship with Frazee, instructed detectives that Frazee tried to get her to kill Berreth however she balked.
Kenney, who additionally goes by Krystal Lee, admitted to touring to Colorado and attempting to befriend the sufferer as a part of the homicide plot, and that she later cleaned up Berreth’s townhouse after the homicide at Frazee’s path, the affidavit mentioned.
Kenney mentioned Frazee instructed her that he blindfolded Berreth inside her townhouse, bludgeoned her within the head with a baseball bat, after which burned her physique. Searches of Frazee’s ranch outdoors the city of Florissant and at a close-by landfill failed to show up the sufferer’s stays, police mentioned.
Kenney pleaded responsible in February to proof tampering and as a part of a plea cut price agreed to cooperate with prosecutors. In a court docket submitting, Frazee’s court-appointed legal professionals indicated that they might blame Kenney for the slaying by naming her as an alternate suspect.
Kaylee has been positioned within the momentary custody of Berreth’s dad and mom who’ve filed a federal wrongful demise lawsuit towards Frazee, claiming that he murdered their daughter to achieve sole custody of the woman.
The prison trial is docketed to final three weeks, and opening statements are tentatively set for Friday, a court docket spokesman mentioned.
Reporting by Keith Coffman; modifying by Invoice Tarrantand Leslie Adler