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Atascadero stabbing case goes to the jury

Jealousy was a motive for an Atascadero woman to commit murder, a prosecutor said, and in closing arguments Monday, he cited Kelsey Morasci’s question of “Is he your new boyfriend?” moments before Everett Quaid was stabbed as evidence of her guilt.

But Morasci’s defense attorney, Thomas McCormick, countered by citing witness testimony that he said contradicts factual evidence in the case.

McCormick also cited the CPR that Morasci gave Quaid as he bled profusely after the stabbing to show that she had no intent to kill him and was acting in self-defense.

The closing statements concluded the nearly two-week trial before Judge John Trice in San Luis Obispo Superior Court.

Deputy District Attorney Lee Cunningham used Morasci’s own words, in statements secretly audio taped by Atascadero police supervisor Kellye Diller after her arrest, to argue her guilt.

Cunningham argued that Morasci’s statements — on a screen for the jury to see — of “he didn’t put up a fight,” “he did nothing,” and “he just stood there and took it” aren’t comments reflecting a person who was defending herself.

Cunningham also argued Morasci was jealous and suspicious of Quaid — who had begun dating her ex-girlfriend Grace Crabtree.

When Crabtree said she didn’t want to talk about the nature of her relationship with Quaid, and she and Quaid both said they were “just friends,” Morasci stabbed Quaid, Cunningham said.

The prosecutor argued that Morasci grabbed two steak knives after the alleged initial stabbing with a Swiss Army knife and followed Quaid outside to “finish to the job.”

“This was a vicious, surprise attack,” Cunningham said. “Kelsey Morasci had the intent to kill.”

Quaid died after his subclavian artery was severed. He suffered massive internal bleeding before his death Aug. 6, 2009.

McCormick said that Morasci’s DNA and fingerprints are not on the alleged murder weapon and his client was acting in self-

defense, which is evident in her efforts to resuscitate Quaid in the parking lot.

McCormick said that a key prosecution witness, Damon Shannon, was at the Atascadero apartment “to party” and brought a 30-pack of beer to the gathering where the incident happened — of which 25 cans were consumed.

Shannon said he saw Morasci making a striking motion toward Quaid on the hammock where they sat together.

McCormick said that his client’s statements and the factual evidence make it reasonable to believe the stabbing happened when she was on the ground and Quaid leaned in toward her, as he was straddling her.

Morasci told police in a recorded interview on camera that she was able to grab Quaid’s wrist and free the knife from his grasp before using it to defend herself against him.

“The prosecution has to prove this case beyond a reasonable doubt,” McCormick said. “Vote your conscience based on the law and fact.”

Prosecutors alleged that Morasci planned the attack and surprised Quaid with the knife, and he fought to restrain her and escape the home.

While McCormick argued that witness testimony was inconsistent and there isn’t proof beyond a reasonable doubt that his client is guilty, Cunningham argued that witnesses often remember things somewhat differently and stories that are too similar can mean witnesses conspired to lie.

The jury of eight women and four men have the choice to return a not guilty verdict or a guilty verdict of second-degree murder or voluntary or involuntary manslaughter.

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