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Colorado man beat fiancée to death with bat, burned body: police

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A Colorado man accused of murdering his fiancé last November beat the young mother to death with a baseball bat before burning her body, a homicide investigator told a hearing on Tuesday, a court official said.

The gruesome details emerged at a day-long preliminary hearing in Teller County District Court in Cripple Creek, Colorado, to decide if there was probable cause to try Patrick Frazee for the disappearance and slaying of 29-year-old Kelsey Berreth.

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Prosecutors have charged Frazee, 32, with first-degree murder, solicitation to commit murder, and tampering with a deceased body. He has been held without bond since his arrest in December.

Teller County District Judge Scott Sells ruled there was sufficient evidence to bind Frazee over for trial, and set an April 8 arraignment date for him to enter a plea.

Frazee’s court-appointed lawyers earlier said they would not comment on the case outside of court.

Gregg Slater, an agent with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, testified that Frazee blindfolded Berreth and beat her to death by hitting her on the head with a baseball bat, Jon Sarche, a public information officer with the Colorado Judicial Branch, confirmed to Reuters.

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Frazee then burned the body, along with other items and disposed of the remains, which have not been located, Slater testified. 

The crime details were provided to investigators by Krystal Kenney, an Idaho woman with whom Frazee had a relationship, and whom he tried to persuade to kill Berreth.

Kenney, 32, told detectives that Frazee wanted her to either poison Berreth’s coffee after befriending her, or beat her to death. But she refused, so Frazee carried out the slaying on his own, authorities said.

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Kenney pleaded guilty this month to evidence tampering and, as part of a plea bargain, agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.

Investigators said Berreth’s cell phone pinged off a tower near Kenney’s Idaho home, and police were led to Kenney by Frazee’s cell phone records that showed his calls to her.

Berreth was last seen in public on Nov. 22, when a security camera captured her entering a grocery store with her one-year-old daughter, Kaylee, in the mountain town of Woodland Park, Colorado, 90 miles (145 km) southwest of Denver.

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Berreth’s parents, Cheryl and Darrell Berreth, have filed a federal wrongful death lawsuit against Frazee in U.S. District Court in Denver, saying he killed their daughter to get custody of the child.

Reporting by Keith Coffman in Denver; Editing by Clarence Fernandez


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China and Iran are gearing up to launch 2020 election misinformation campaigns: report

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It looks like Russia won't be the only hostile foreign power that will try to use social media to influence the 2020 presidential election.

A new report from Axios claims that there's growing evidence that both Iran and China are gearing up to launch mass misinformation social media campaigns ahead of the 2020 race.

Among other things, both Facebook and Twitter have uncovered phony social media accounts that are being used to both undermine protests in Hong Kong and interfere in elections in Taiwan. However, former CIA analyst Chris Johnson tells Axios that he doesn't believe China will so blatantly interfere in the election on behalf of a candidate as Russia did with President Donald Trump in 2016, as it doesn't want to risk the backlash that Russia has faced.

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CNN’s Toobin rips White House silencing Lewandowski before hearing: ‘Outlandish — and legally unjustifiable’

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Addressing former Donald Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski's appearance before a House committee on Tuesday, CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin bashed the White House for telling him to divulge nothing to his questioners.

Speaking with host John Berman, Toobin explained that Lewandowski would be performing for the president during the hearing and lawmakers should expect combative answers when they get any answers at all.

"The White House is claiming privilege for everything beyond the information provided in portions of the [Mueller] report that have already been disclosed to the committee," Berman prompted. "Presumably Lewandowski will be able to answer questions for things that are in writing in the Mueller report, just nothing beyond that."

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will endorse primary challenger to conservative Illinois Democrat: report

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On Tuesday, The New York Times reported that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) will issue her first endorsement of the 2020 cycle to a primary challenger against a sitting member of Congress.

Ocasio-Cortez, who has rapidly achieved icon status in the progressive movement since winning a long-shot primary challenge of her own against the fourth-ranking House Democrat in 2018, will back Marie Newman against Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL).

Lipinski, a member of the bipartisan "Problem Solvers Caucus" who first took over his suburban Chicago congressional seat from his father in 2004, has long been a thorn in the side of progressive activists. He is one of the only Democrats to have voted against the Affordable Care Act, and has been a consistent opponent of abortion rights.

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