Patrick Frazee found guilty of first-degree murder in death of his fiancée


FILE – In this April 5, 2019, file photo, Teller County Sheriff deputies lead Patrick Frazee out of the Teller County Courthouse in Cripple Creek, Colo. The murder trial of a Colorado rancher accused of beating his fiancée to death while their 1-year-old daughter was nearby is coming to an end with jurors expected to hear closing arguments on Friday, Nov. 15, 2019. Then it will be up to the jury to decide whether to convict Patrick Frazee of killing 29-year-old flight instructor Kelsey Berreth and burning her body. (Christian Murdock/The Gazette via AP, File)

(CBS News)–A jury in Colorado on Monday found Patrick Frazee guilty of first-degree murder in the death of his fiancée, Kelsey Berreth. The jury of six men and six women deliberated for 3 1/2 hours on Monday. Frazee faces life in prison.

Berreth’s remains have never been found; neither has a murder weapon. Investigators have said that Frazee’s motive was custody of the couple’s now 2-year-old daughter.

Testimony wrapped up on Friday in the rural Colorado town of Cripple Creek, with claims that Frazee tried to have the star witness — his former lover — killed.

A fellow prisoner became a surprise witness when he testified that he received 16 notes from Frazee with instructions to use his prison gang connections to have several of the witnesses testifying against him killed, including Berreth’s mother. The list also included the prosecution’s star witness and Frazee’s secret girlfriend, Idaho nurse Krystal Lee.

Lee testified that Frazee told her he beat his fiancée to death with a baseball bat on Thanksgiving Day. After the murder, Lee says Frazee called her and said she had “a mess to clean up.” Lee claims she drove from Idaho to Colorado and cleaned up the crime scene.

In exchange for her testimony, Lee agreed to plead guilty to evidence tampering. She will be sentenced after Frazee’s case wraps up; she faces a maximum of three years in prison. The prosecution presented more than 60 witnesses; the defense called none, and Frazee declined to testify.

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