The mistress of the Colorado rancher accused of beating his fiancée to death with a baseball bat allegedly came to her friend in tears before Kelsey Berreth disappeared confessing that Frazee had asked her to kill Berreth herself, according to a new interview.
Krystal Lee’s best friend Michelle Stein told “48 Hours” that Lee had confided in her about a month before Berreth disappeared on Thanksgiving Day 2018, telling her friend that Frazee had wanted Lee to poison the flight instructor’s favorite Starbucks drink or attack her with a metal pole.
“She was very, very upset, very distraught. … She had told me … that he had asked her to ‘Take care of his baby mama,’” Stein said, according to CBS News.
Stein said she was in “disbelief” during the conversation with Lee, a nurse and mother of two who had been carrying on a romantic relationship with Frazee at the time.
“Well I was in shock at first because … who says that? Nobody says that. … So, I was like, 'Wait, what?' And she said, ‘Yeah…he asked me if I would kill the mother of his baby.’”
According to Stein, Lee told her Frazee had wanted to get rid of his fiancée because she wanted to take him back to court to get custody of the daughter they shared together and that he was afraid Berreth was going to harm the baby.
“She was bawling,” Stein said of the conversation with Lee. “She was crying, she was extremely upset and scared.”
Investigators were never able to find any proof that Berreth had harmed her baby daughter.
Lee would later tell investigators that she was never able to carry out to any attempts to kill Berreth herself, but she did help Frazee clean up the murder scene after he allegedly carried out the act himself.
The new interview comes just weeks before Frazee’s murder trial is set to begin on Oct. 28 in Teller County, according to The Denver Post. He has pleaded not guilty to murder and three counts of solicitation of murder in the case.
Frazee’s defense team filed a motion to be able to present Lee as an alternate suspects in the trial; however, the motion was filed after the required deadline, The Colorado Springs Gazette reports.
Lee pleaded guilty in February to one count of tampering with physical evidence as part of a plea deal that will require her to testify against Frazee.
Although Stein said her conversation with Lee, a former rodeo queen in Idaho, happened about a month before Berreth disappeared, Stein never called police to report the disturbing conversation.
“Well this is the thing people need to understand. What was I supposed to do?” she asked, adding that she did not know the last names of either Berreth or Frazee at the time of the conversation.
When asked by “48 Hours” whether she regrets not calling the police and at least asking them to talk with Lee before Berreth was killed, she said she does have some regret.
“Of course, I regret it,” she said. “I regret it every day. Oh, my God. I would do anything to have stopped that somehow.”
Stein believes her friend agreed to help Frazee because he threatened to hurt her own family if she didn't, even telling her “little girls come up missing all the time,” she said.
"She had a legitimate fear for her life here," she said.
Berreth’s body has never been recovered, but she was last seen alive on Thanksgiving Day at a Colorado grocery store with her young daughter. Prosecutors believe Frazee killed Berreth with a baseball bat at her townhome after convincing her to put on a blindfold and play a game where she guessed the scent of candles.
Investigators later found Berreth’s blood inside her home—evidence which they plan to use along with Lee’s testimony in Frazee’s upcoming trial.
Lee told investigators she went to Berreth’s home several days after Thanksgiving with cleaning supplies—including bleach, gloves and trash bags—and washed blood from the home in an effort to help Frazee. She then took the flight instructor’s cell phone with her before disposing of it in Idaho in an attempt to mislead authorities.
University of Colorado law professor Aya Gruber told “48 Hours” that the prosecution’s case will likely rely heavily on Lee’s testimony, due to a lack of physical evidence, including the murder weapon or Berreth’s body.
“I think it makes it a much more difficult case,” she said. “The cell phone evidence tells a story. And that’s very helpful. But it can’t tell a full story. ... So, what this case lives and dies on is the testimony of Krystal Lee.”
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