Case hangs on difference between ‘kill’ and ‘murder’

The Atascadero woman accused of murder in the stabbing death of a Paso Robles man said “I killed him” twice during a recording taken the morning of her arrest.

But Kelsey Morasci’s lawyer said outside San Luis Obispo Superior Court on Thursday that it’s important to distinguish between the words “kill” and “murder” and that his client was reacting to finding out that Everett Quaid had died.

Morasci, 29, has pleaded not guilty to the charge of murder in the Aug. 6 stabbing death of 21-year-old Quaid, who had begun dating Morasci’s ex-girlfriend, Grace Crabtree.

The audio recording was taken by Atascadero Police Department officer Kellye Diller on Aug. 6, the morning of Morasci’s arrest, after Diller first met with Morasci about 8:45 a.m.

The two-part audio recording includes comments Morasci made while frantically sobbing and crying in an Atascadero Police Department holding cell and at Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center, where Morasci underwent a doctor’s examination for cuts on her hand.

During the tape, which was difficult to understand in many portions, Morasci said “I killed him” and “it was my fault.”

Defense attorney Tho-mas McCormick said after the hearing that he interpreted those comments to mean that Morasci “felt bad” and was reacting to the news of Quaid’s death.

McCormick said one of the officers had told Morasci about Quaid’s death.

Morasci maintains that she was defending herself when Quaid attacked her in the early morning hours of Aug. 6. as they were sitting on a hammock during a gathering at the apartment Crabtree and Morasci had been sharing in Atascadero, McCormick said. Prosecutors said that Morasci initiated the stabbing.

Diller testified that Morasci’s hand was bloodied from hitting the holding cell door with her fist and that blood stains were left on the door.

The officer also said she remembered Morasci asking her if she was being charged with manslaughter.

The prosecution rested its case Thursday morning. The defense then called witness Bernadette Hernandez, who was in the neighboring apartment when the stabbing took place.

Hernandez testified she heard a female say, “What did you expect me to do? I had to protect myself.”

McCormick also called Morasci’s sister, Casey Morasci, who testified that Kelsey called her the night of Aug. 5 and asked for a ride home because she’d been drinking.

Closing statements in the trial are expected to take place Monday at 9:30 a.m. in Judge John Trice’s courtroom.