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Woman testifies about stabbing of boyfriend in Atascadero

jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

The ex-girlfriend of an Atascadero woman accused of murder took the stand Monday and described events leading up to Everett Quaid’s death last year.

Grace Crabtree, 26, testified in San Luis Obispo Superior Court that Kelsey Morasci called police and filed a false complaint against Crabtree’s new boyfriend, Quaid, on the night of the alleged murder.

Morasci, 29, told police that Quaid was improperly touching Crabtree’s 6-year-old daughter, but after investigating that night, police dismissed the allegation, Crabtree testified.

A few hours later, in the early morning hours of Aug. 6, after a period of tense discussion had calmed, Crabtree testified she was near Morasci and Quaid when they were sitting on a hammock in an outside patio after going out to smoke a cigarette.

Crabtree said she saw Morasci first appear to hug Quaid and then make motions that appeared to be punches.

“It was quiet and then she came toward Everett,” Crabtree said. “At first it looked like a hug. … It looked like Everett was trying to get away. I screamed for Damon Shannon (her sister’s friend) to come.”

After Quaid went inside the apartment and sat on a couch, Crabtree said she felt on Quaid’s neck and chest for a wound because he was bleeding badly, but she couldn’t find one.

Morasci is accused of stabbing Quaid to death by puncturing an artery with a Swiss Army knife.But her attorney, Thomas McCormick, said Morasci was acting in self-defense and used her military experience to take the knife away from Quaid.

Outside the courtroom Monday, McCormick said that he believed Quaid was angry over the call to police and initiated the attack. Morasci has pleaded not guilty.

Crabtree said that she met Morasci a year before and was in a romantic relationship with her, but Crabtree broke it off two months before the alleged murder because Morasci was becoming controlling and her behavior was “changing a lot.”

Crabtree testified that she met Quaid, a 21-year-old Paso Robles resident, at the California Mid-State Fair in July, about a month before his death.

Crabtree said she and Morasci entered into a written agreement for Morasci to move out of the apartment they shared, and Morasci had started the process of moving out prior to Aug. 6.

Though Morasci had met Quaid before the night of the murder, Crabtree said she didn’t tell Morasci that she was dating him.

Crabtree said she was standing in the patio of the apartment about 12 to 14 feet away from where Morasci and Quaid were in the hammock before the struggle ensued.

Crabtree testified Morasci had asked if Quaid was her new boyfriend, and Crabtree said: “I don’t want to do this right now. I don’t want to talk about it.”

Morasci also had asked Quaid if they were dating. Quaid responded, “No, we’re just friends,” Crabtree said.

Crabtree also said on the stand that she never saw Morasci with a knife, but she saw Morasci make punching motions at Quaid.

McCormick said outside of court that he thought Crabtree’s testimony was inconsistent. He said his client was defending herself.

McCormick said Shannon testified that he saw Morasci sitting to Quaid’s right, but Crabtree motioned as if Morasci was sitting to Quaid’s left on the hammock.

During cross-examination from McCormick, Crabtree also said Quaid wasn’t on top of Morasci during their struggle on the ground.

But Shannon, who accompanied Crabtree’s sister, Patty, to the apartment in attempt to help calm the situation when the alleged stabbing happened, testified last week that Quaid had pinned Morasci in a straddling position. Shannon also said he heard Quaid say he couldn’t believe Morasci pulled a knife on him and then Quaid handed Shannon a Swiss Army knife to take away.

“My client was honorably discharged (from the military) and trained in how to take a knife away during an attack,” McCormick said.

McCormick said in opening statements last week that the evidence will show the knife belonged to Quaid.

The trial resumes today in Judge John Trice’s courtroom at 9:30 a.m.

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