An Atascadero woman convicted of murder in the stabbing death of a Paso Robles man who was part of a purported love triangle will spend 16 years to life in prison, a judge ruled Friday.
Kelsey Morasci, 29, was pensive in the courtroom and often avoided eye contact with Everett Quaid’s mother and aunt as they read emotional statements in a packed, attentive courtroom.
Quaid, 21, suffered a severed artery and severe internal bleeding from the fatal stab wound Aug. 6 outside Morasci’s Atascadero apartment.
“Everett was a huge part of our lives and for you to take him away from us was such a senseless act,” said Debbie Quaid, Everett Quaid’s mother, directing her comments at Morasci. “It’s a pain that will never go away, a void that can never be filled.”
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Thomas McCormick, Morasci’s attorney, had argued during the trial that his client acted in self-defense. He said Friday that he has appealed the case and maintains his client’s innocence.
“It’s unfortunate to see (Morasci’s) life destroyed, and I take the result in the case very personally,” McCormick said. “I also feel for Everett Quaid’s family and the pain they’ve gone through.”
A jury of eight women and four men convicted Morasci on Wednesday after a nearly two-week trial in which prosecutor Lee Cunningham said that Morasci’s jealousy led her to kill Quaid after he began dating Morasci’s ex-girlfriend. The jury deliberated for two days.
“It was a just result,” Cunningham said of the verdict and sentencing. “I think the system worked as it should have, and her rights were protected. … She was convicted for a murder she committed.”
Several of Quaid’s family and friends wore orange hats in court Friday with his name inscribed on them.
Cindy Quaid said her nephew was just beginning his life as an adult and said the call she received awakening her on Aug. 6 with the news “Everett is dead” has been life-changing.
“There will always be a void until we meet him when we leave this world,” she said.
Morasci chose not to speak at the hearing when Judge John Trice offered her the chance to do so.
Debbie Quaid remembered her son’s “huge smile” and caring attitude that made people around him “feel special.”
Debbie Quaid called Morasci a “dangerous person” and recommended the maximum sentence.
“If Everett were here, able to speak today, he would be saying, ‘I really hope that you get the help you need,’ ” Debbie Quaid said to Morasci.
Trice decided on the maximum sentence for Morasci. She will be eligible for parole after 16 years, as spelled out under state sentencing guidelines, but faces up to life in prison.
Trice said sentencing decisions such as the one he had to make in Morasci’s case are not easy, but no matter what decision he makes it wouldn’t bring back Quaid or take away the pain his death caused to his family.