Inmate says defendant asked him to kill witness
CRIPPLE CREEK, Colo. (AP) – The Latest on the trial of a Colorado man accused of killing his fiancee: (all times local):
A jail inmate says a Colorado rancher charged with beating his fiancee to death asked him multiple times to kill the key witness in the case.
Jacob Bentley took the stand Friday on what’s expected to be the final day of testimony in Patrick Frazee’s murder trial.
While they were housed near each other in jail, Bentley said Frazee asked him to kill Frazee’s on-again, off-again girlfriend, Krystal Lee, who testified that her lover asked her to help clean up the murder scene.
Bentley also testified that Frazee wanted him to kill lead investigator Gregg Slater, Lee’s relatives and others. Slater said notes provided by Bentley appeared to be in Frazee’s handwriting.
Frazee’s lawyer questioned Bentley’s credibility. He said Bentley was expected to testify in another case in which a defendant also asked him to kill a witness.
Prosecutors say Bentley asked for cases against him to be resolved in one county in exchange for his testimony.
Closing arguments are expected Friday in the trial of a Colorado rancher charged with killing his fiancee.
Patrick Frazee is accused of beating 29-year-old Kelsey Berreth to death with a baseball bat and burning her body.
Berreth was last seen nearly a year ago while shopping with the couple’s 1-year-old daughter. Her body hasn’t been found.
Prosecutors have relied heavily on the testimony of a former Idaho nurse who had an on-and-off relationship with Frazee for over a decade. Krystal Lee testified that Frazee asked her to clean up the murder scene and that she watched him burn a plastic tote she believed contained Berreth’s body.
Lee reached a plea deal with prosecutors and Frazee’s lawyers have questioned her reliability.
Berreth’s parents have custody of the couple’s daughter.
Attorneys planned to make their final case to the jury Friday in the murder trial of a Colorado rancher accused of beating his fiancee to death with a baseball ball with their 1-year-old daughter in the next room.
Prosecutors have leaned on explosive testimony from a woman Patrick Frazee was having an affair with who described helping clean up blood and watching him burn Kelsey Berreth’s body.
Jurors were expected to hear closing arguments and then start deliberating whether to convict Frazee of killing Berreth, a 29-year-old flight instructor last seen nearly a year ago on Thanksgiving while shopping with the couple’s daughter. Her body has never been found.
Krystal Lee, a former Idaho nurse who had an on-and-off relationship with Frazee for over a decade, testified that Frazee asked her to clean up the scene of the killing and that she watched him burn a plastic tote that she believed contained Berreth’s body.
Lee acknowledged taking Berreth’s cellphone with her to Idaho at Frazee’s request to try to deceive investigators about Berreth’s whereabouts. She reached a plea deal with prosecutors for tampering with evidence and faces up to three years in prison.
Frazee’s lawyers used the deal to question how honest Lee was about what happened since she initially told authorities she did not know who Berreth was.
Prosecutors have not given a motive for the killing. Berreth’s parents, who have custody of the couple’s daughter, argue in a wrongful-death lawsuit that they believe Frazee wanted full custody of the girl.