A burn site found on the ranch of the Colorado man accused of killing Kelsey Berreth bore the tell-tale signs of a body having been placed in a plastic tote and burned to the point of consumption.
This is the testimony of expert witness Jerry Means, Investigations Chief at Adams County Fire and Rescue Denver who was called to the witness stand in Patrick Frazee’s trial on Tuesday.
Frazee, 33, is charged with killing 29-year-old Berreth, who disappeared last Thanksgiving. Her body has never been found.
Berreth’s family sat in the front row of the Teller County court room as the court heard gruesome testimony about the impact of fire on a human body and Means pointed out to an oily patch of ground, next to the burn site.
The trial also heard that Frazee told one of his former clients that Kelsey is ‘not coming back’ after she disappeared.
Frazee, 33, is charged with killing 29-year-old Berreth, who disappeared last Thanksgiving. Her body has never been found
The soil was fused together in a way that could only have been caused by burning plastic, he said. And the oily stain was consistent with human body oil.
Questioned by prosecutor Dan Mays, Means explained: ‘It is very common for [fat on] the body to somewhat liquify, just like cooking a steak. It liquifies and it drips down on a concentrated level.’
Means described the process by which a body, ravaged by fire, ‘hangs tough’ for a remarkably long time before its destruction.
Means described the chronology of a body burned to the point of destruction. He said: ‘Small parts go first, fingers and toes, they dislocate from larger items, your hands for example. The big muscles like your forearms dry out and draw up and it causes the arms to go into a sort of pugilistic posture.’
He said that the same ‘drawing up’ occurs with the legs and feet with the pelvic area and torso being the last to go before.
For his part Frazee sat impassive. Wearing a blue checked shirt, his head shaved closed, he looked down for much of the Means’ testimony. Occasionally he looked towards the witness, cocking his head to the side and blinking rapidly as he listened.
Asked if there was a possibility that the oil observed on the ground could have been motor oil, Means conceded that it could have been, or it could have been a mixture of human oil and motor oil.
Last week the court heard from Joe Moore, one of Frazee’s closest friends who recalled that Frazee had commented to him, ‘no body, no crime.’
Margaret Luce, a former client of Frazee who used his services as a farrier for her horses, later took the stand to testify that Frazee had told her that Berreth ‘did not want to be a mother,’ and that she was ‘unstable’ and had threatened suicide.
Luce claimed that in a conversation after Berreth’s disappearance Frazee had shared the fact that he had returned a gun to Berreth despite having concerns that she would ‘hurt herself.’
She said: ‘He said he didn’t want her to have a gun because she might hurt herself… but she wanted the gun back and said that she was threatening to go to the police so he asked if he could try to sell it for her.’
When he couldn’t get a good enough price, Luce said, Frazee told her he had returned the gun.
She said: ‘I sort of wondered why he was telling me it.’
Later Luce tried to comfort Frazee with the comment: ‘Perhaps Kelsey will come back.’
Frazee replied: ‘Oh she’s not coming back.’
As the trial entered its eighth day on Tuesday, the jury in heard a series of prosecution witnesses testify about the death of Berreth, who disappeared last Thanksgiving Day.
Berreth’s father looked down and put his face in his hands as investigators described the blood stains they found throughout her apartment.
Working on tips from key witness Krystal Lee Kenney, a Colorado Bureau of Investigation evidence technician described identifying blood spots on walls, the stone fireplace and a wooden baby gate, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette.
Investigators also found blood under the living room’s wooden floor boards, as well as cleaning marks on couch cushions and a picture frame.
On Friday, a longtime friend of Frazee took the witness stand where he revealed Frazee told him ‘if there is no body, there is no crime’ before and after his fiancée Berreth disappeared.
On Friday jurors heard from prosecution witness Joe Moore, who has been friends with the suspected killer since middle school, and revealed the chilling comments Frazee told him regarding Berreth’s disappearance.
He testified that Frazee repeatedly said to him after she was reported missing, ‘Why do they [police] keep investigating cause if there is no body, there is no crime. Why do they [police] keep questioning me,’ according to Fox.
Frazee, 33, is charged with killing his fiancée Kelsey Berreth, 29, on Thanksgiving Day last year in her home in Woodland Park, Colorado. Her body was never found
On one occasion after Berreth disappeared and Moore and Frazee were on a drive together, he recalled Frazee saying, ‘I don’t even understand why, why there’s such a big deal over this.’
‘And he’s like “man, if I had known it was going to blow up this big, I never would have …”‘ Moore added.
Moore, who ran cattle with Frazee at multiple leased ranches in Teller and Park counties, testified that Frazee revealed his plans to kill Berreth back in April.
Moore said on April 26, 2018 he was was loading bulls into a truck with Frazee when he asked how his relationship with Berreth was going. The two already had their young daughter Kaylee at the time.
‘He said “I figured out a way to kill her.” And I went “don’t even talk about s*** like that. Get that s*** out of your head,”‘ Moore recalled.
‘And he just kinda grinned and went “no body, no crime, right?” And I said “Patrick, get that out of your head,”‘ Moore added.
Moore said it was hard for him to take the witness stand on Friday.
‘Just don’t wanna … picture somebody that you’ve known that long and have trusted … you just don’t wanna think that they could do something like this,’ he said through tears. ‘We were very darn close.’
Moore said he only met Berreth twice. They first met in November 2016 before she was pregnant. She helped them move cows and Moore recalled Frazee berated her and yelled and cussed at her.
After Berreth disappeared Frazee told Moore: ‘Why do they [police] keep investigating cause if there is no body, there is no crime’. Frazee and Berreth shared a young daughter Kaylee together (family picture above), that child is now in the custody of Berreth’s parents
He recalled another bizarre conversation with Frazee after Berreth’s disappearance in which he tried to theorize that she took her own life.
‘He said “you know, if Kelsey wanted to commit suicide, she could go out to Pike National Forest and commit suicide and no one would ever find her.” I said “Patrick, if her phone is pinging up in Idaho, how can she possibly be in Pike National Forest? And he just went “huh, yeah…”‘
Moore said Frazee never seemed concerned about Berreth’s disappearance.
He also told Moore he had Berreth’s blood spattered on his clothes and shoes because she suffered a bloody nose on one occasion and injured her nose on a pole while they were herding cattle on another occasion.
Frazee’s mistress Idaho nurse Kyrstal Lee Kenney testified on Thursday saying Frazee beat Berreth to death with a baseball bat and burned her body
‘He was very curious and always asking questions because he point-blank said that he had Kelsey’s blood on his pants and he had Kelsey’s blood on his shirt and boot, and the bottom of his boot,’ Moore recalled.
‘He said “do you think they’ll be able to find any of that, even though it’s all been washed?”‘ Moore testified.
Moore’s testimony came one day after that of Frazee’s mistress Idaho nurse Kenney.
In her bombshell account, she said Frazee told her that he beat Berreth to death with a baseball bat on November 22, 2018, Thanksgiving Day, and put her body into a black tote box that he stored in a red barn at a property he leased.
Lee said she saw Frazee burn the tote on his property after she drove to Colorado from Idaho to clean up the bloody crime scene.
She said the murder took place in front of the couple’s baby daughter Kaylee who was in the back room in her jumper when Frazee bludgeoned his fiancée to death.
Frazee was arrested for Berreth’s murder on December 21, 2018, three weeks after Berreth’s mother reported her missing.
Frazee has pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree murder, solicitation to commit first-degree murder, and tampering with a deceased human body.
Frazee and Berreth’s daughter Kaylee is in the custody of Berreth’s parents.
His mistress Kenney testified against him and pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence in a plea deal with prosecutors. She faces three years in prison.
Friday marked the end of the first full week of Frazee’s murder trial which started on November 1. It is slated to continue for the next three weeks. His murder trial in Teller County, Colorado continues on Tuesday.