Three years after a mistrial on the same charge, the state is trying Sidney Moorer again for the 2013 kidnapping of Heather Elvis.
Moorer and his wife Tammy were originally charged with the murder and kidnapping of then 19-year old Elvis following her disappearance on Dec. 18, 2013. The murder charges were later dropped.
Tammy is currently serving a 30-year sentence on the kidnapping charge. Sidney is serving a 10-year sentence for obstruction of justice. A 2016 jury could not reach a unanimous decision on Sidney’s kidnapping charge, leading to this week’s retrial.
On Tuesday, the state said their case would show that an affair between Sidney and Heather would eventually lead to her disappearance. Assistant solicitor Chris Helms said Tammy learned of the affair and a sequence of events would prove that the couple would be responsible for Heather going missing in the early morning hours of Dec. 18.
“The boss lady found out and laid down the law,” Helms said. “Tammy put him on probation.”
He added that phone calls and texts explain how Sidney and Tammy planned and carried out Heather’s kidnapping.
Helms said a phone call from Sidney drew Elvis to Peachtree Boat Landing where her car was found and she was never heard from again.
“After that, Sidney was off probation and life was normal again,” he said.
Defense attorney Jarrett Bouchette countered in his opening argument that the state’s case was purely circumstantial and there is no physical evidence linking Sidney to Elvis’s disappearance.
Bouchette said the Moorers' arrests in February of 2014 were rushed because of outside “noise” from the public.
“The police developed tunnel vision following Heather’s going missing,” he added.
The state opened its case bringing in co-workers from the Tilted Kilt, Heather’s place of employment when she went missing. They said she was a bubbly person, always smiling.
Moorer had been hired to do maintenance work at the restaurant and developed a relationship with Elvis, witnesses said.
Jessica Cooke and Jody Davenport said Moorer would visit Elvis during the day, bringing her coffee and bagels. Both said Heather began gaining weight, having to get larger work uniforms. They said Heather took a pregnancy test but it was inconclusive.
They added that Heather became distraught in mid-October when she and Moorer broke off their affair. Both said Heather was afraid of Tammy.
Stephen Schiraldi had taken Elvis on a date the night before she went missing. He told the court that the two had gone to Bandito’s restaurant and then to the Inlet Square Mall parking lot where he taught her how to drive a vehicle with a manual transmission.
Schiraldi said he went back to his mother’s house in Murrells Inlet where he lived and the two watched a movie in his room before he took her back to her apartment in River Oaks off U.S. 501. The two had planned on going out again. He said Elvis seemed to be in a good mood during the evening.
On cross examination by Bouchette, Schiraldi said the police never investigated his home or his truck.
Perhaps the most telling testimony came from Heather’s roommate Brianna Warrelmann, who said Heather called her around 1:45 a.m. on Dec. 18 and she was upset and crying.
Because of hearsay restrictions, Warrelmann could not repeat what Heather said but she told the court that her response to Heather was not to go meet Sidney and to go to sleep and they would talk in the morning.
The state will continue its case Wednesday morning.
Prior to the start of Tuesday’s proceedings, the defense convinced Judge Markley Dennis to issue an order to obtain Heather’s records from the Waccamaw Center for Mental Health.
Defense attorneys said they have a summary of her records and feel the actual records will have information relevant to their case.
Dennis said he would issue the court order but that did not mean the information would automatically be admissible in the trial.