Nurse Will Testify Against Colo. Mom's Fiancé at His Murder Trial: 'I Knew [He] Committed Homicide'
Krystal Jean Lee Kenney pleaded guilty to tampering with physical evidence
An Idaho nurse will testify against missing Colorado mother Kelsey Berreth‘s fiancé at his upcoming trial for her presumed murder, prosecutors said at a press conference.
Krystal Jean Lee Kenney of Hanson, Idaho, appeared Friday morning before Fourth Judicial District Court Judge Scott Sells in Colorado’s Teller County for an advisement hearing.
At the hearing, the 32-year-old nurse said she allegedly knew that Berreth’s fiancé, Patrick Frazee, 32, committed homicide. Kenney entered a guilty plea to tampering with evidence, a felony, admitting she helped dispose of Berreth’s phone for Frazee.
The terms of the plea deal were formally agreed to at the hearing between prosecutors and Kenney’s attorney, Dru Nielsen. PEOPLE was unable to immediately reach Nielsen.
Prosecutors allege Frazee killed Berreth, the 29-year-old mother of his child, after planning the killing over the previous two months.
Berreth was last spotted publicly on Nov. 22, and police had been investigating whether Kenney dumped Berreth’s phone in Idaho on Nov. 24 or 25, where the missing mom’s mobile device last pinged off cell towers shortly before authorities launched a search for her.
According to prosecutors, Kenney “destroyed, mutilated, concealed, removed, or altered physical evidence” in the case “believing that an official proceeding was pending or about to be instituted.”
Kenney will not be sentenced until after the conclusion of Frazee’s impending trial.
She could be sentenced to probation but faces up to two years in prison. The deal mandates she not speak about the case to reporters, and that all related court documents remain under seal.
KRDO-TV reports that Kenney spoke during Friday’s proceedings.
“I knew Patrick Frazee committed homicide,” she alleged, sobbing in open court. Kenney further acknowledged she knew getting rid of the cell phone would hinder the police investigation.
Couple’s Daughter Will Continue to Live with Missing Mom’s Parents
In addition to two counts of murder, Frazee faces three counts of solicitation to commit murder in Berreth’s death.
While Teller County investigators have yet to detail the specific allegations that led to the solicitation counts, it likely means prosecutors think Frazee allegedly solicited an individual three times or three people on three separate occasions as part of an alleged murder plot.
The alleged solicitations occurred between Sept. 1 and Nov. 1, 2018, according to the charging documents, which were obtained by PEOPLE.
According to the documents, prosecutors filed two murder counts because they have two theories about how the presumed killing may have taken place: either Frazee killed Berreth by himself, or he and someone else allegedly tried to rob Berreth before she was killed.
The five charges Frazee faces were filed nearly a month after Berreth disappeared without a trace. Officials believe Berreth was killed, but have yet to find her remains.
Berreth, a flight instructor from Woodland Park, was last publicly seen on Thanksgiving when surveillance video captured her and her daughter entering a local market.
Frazee, who did not live with Berreth, told police that he and his fiancée met up that same day so that Berreth could hand off their daughter to him.
Berreth’s mother, who lives out of state, reported her missing 10 days later, on Dec. 2, 2018.
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Frazee was arrested on Dec. 21, 2018, without incident on suspicion of first-degree murder and solicitation to commit first-degree murder. He remains in police custody without bond.
Authorities have not discussed a possible motive for the presumed killing.
The couple’s daughter had been staying with Frazee after Berreth disappeared but has been with Berreth’s parents since Frazee’s arrest and will continue to live with them, a judge ruled Thursday, CNN reports.
The status of Berreth and Frazee’s relationship remains something of a mystery, with relatives saying she had ended the engagement weeks before vanishing. Others have claimed the couple split the day of the alleged killing.
If convicted, Frazee faces life imprisonment as well as a possible death sentence.
Judge Sells scheduled a review hearing for Kenney for June 24.
• with reporting by WENDY GROSSMAN KANTOR