An Horry County jury took less than two hours to find Sidney Moorer guilty on charges of kidnapping and conspiracy to kidnap Heather Elvis.
In a hushed courtroom Wednesday, Circuit Judge Markley Dennis sentenced Moorer to 30 years on each charge. The sentences will run concurrently.
Prior to Moorer’s sentencing, Elvis’ family pleaded with Dennis not to make the sentences concurrent. An emotional Terry Elvis told the court that if Moorer would tell the family where his daughter is, he would be OK with letting him walk free.
“At this point, just tell us where she is,” Terry Elvis pleaded, wiping away tears.
Heather Elvis’ mother Debbi Elvis said even with the guilty verdict, their heartbreak continues.
“It’s not over," she said. "Heather is not here.”
Before Dennis imposed the sentence, Moorer said he knows it has been hard on everyone and he wishes he could give the Elvis family more answers.
"I wish I could give them closure," Sidney Moorer said. "Anything I would tell them would be a lie."
Following sentencing, Judge Dennis said his heart goes out to the Elvis family. He told Terry Elvis that he had endured experiences “a father should never have to go through.” As to the conspiracy charge, Dennis said there was no question a conspiracy existed between Moorer and his wife Tammy who is already serving a 30-year sentence for the kidnapping.
“She was the dominant figure in this case,” Dennis said.
Defense attorney Jarrett Bouchette said he was obviously disappointed in the verdict, but he realized “it was a tragic situation all the way around.”
Assistant solicitor Nancy Livesay had no comment as she left the courtroom.
The Moorers were charged with kidnapping and conspiracy to kidnap in the 2013 disappearance of Heather Elvis.
Sidney Moorer’s first trial ended in a hung jury.
Heather Elvis’ car was found at Peachtree Boat Landing in the Socastee community after she was last heard from in December 2013.
The state presented evidence and witnesses tying the Moorers’ Ford F150 truck to the area. An expert had testified that the GPS system on the truck had been disabled shortly after midnight on Dec. 18, 2013.
Lindsey McGraw said the SD card in the truck’s GPS had been removed at 12:07 a.m. on Dec. 18. The state has presented a series of witnesses that testified Elvis’s car was found around 4 a.m. on Dec. 18 at the landing and her phone had gone silent shortly before then.
McGraw said the GPS module noted when the SD card had been removed but not when it was re-inserted. Once the card is removed, the GPS system will not work, he said. McGraw also identified an SD card found in photos taken of the interior of the truck.
The state finished up Monday morning with a State Law Enforcement Division agent who said she checked nationwide for any signs that Elvis may have been elsewhere since her disappearance.
SLED agent Jessica Adams said she looked for signs such as new accounts, rental agreements and the like.
“I found nothing related to Heather Elvis anywhere in the United States since 2013,” Adams said.
Bouchette had asked Dennis for a directed verdict, saying the state had not proven a sufficient case to justify a kidnapping conviction. A directed verdict can be requested after the state finishes its case. If granted, the verdict will be “not guilty.”
The defense said the state’s case was based on innuendoes and prosecutors offered no proof that Sidney Moorer and Heather Elvis had ever crossed paths in the time leading up to her disappearance.
Dennis denied the motion.
The final defense witness for Monday afternoon was Ashley Caison, Tammy Moorer’s sister.
Caison said she had watched the three Moorer children on the morning of Dec. 18 until 3:15 a.m. She said she saw Sidney and Tammy Moorer on the front porch, went back into her house and did not see them again until 7 a.m.
The state had presented a video showing several people washing Sidney Moorer’s truck just days after Elvis went missing. Caison said she had given Sidney Moorer a car wash kit for Christmas and had talked him into opening the present so that she and her boyfriend could wash their cars, too.
Livesay asked her if she had helped wash the truck and Caison said she couldn’t remember. She also asked about video prior to the truck being washed that showed her and Tammy Moorer looking around the yard with what looked like a mirror used by security to check under items.
Caison said she did not remember that and never asked Tammy Moorer what she was looking for.