Prosecutors allege an attorney representing a Myrtle Beach woman accused in the disappearance of Heather Elvis has violated a gag order at least three times, according to a memorandum filed Tuesday in Conway.
In the 45-page document, officials say Myrtle Beach lawyer Greg McCollum violated a gag order by making “extrajudicial statements about this case” in three separate newsletters issued by his office and in comments to news media.
The memo includes copies of the newsletter sent out in September, December and January/February, and copies of media stories from January and February as exhibits.
Attorneys in the case could not be reached immediately Thursday for comment.
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On March 21, Circuit Court Judge Steven John issued a gag order in the case of Tammy Moorer and Sidney Moorer, a Myrtle Beach couple charged with murder and kidnapping in the disappearance of Elvis.
The couple were arrested in February 2014 and each released on $100,000 bail in January following a hearing before Judge Markley Dennis.
A hearing on a motion by McCollum, who represents Tammy Moorer, to lift the gag order was set for Wednesday, but Dennis canceled it because John issued the order.
It is unclear if another hearing will be scheduled for attorneys to discuss the order and alleged violations with John.
In the memorandum, prosecutors support the decision by Dennis and cite cases of law that the judge who issues a gag order should be the authority of it.
John’s gag order prohibits any prosecutors, defense attorneys or their staffs and members of law enforcement, who have investigated the case, to publicly speak or release documents regarding the case. If any of those people wish to publicly speak about the case they must have prior permission from John, according to the documents.
Prosecutors also cite pretrial publicity as a reason the gag order should remain in place because the case is set for trial on May 11 and any comments about the case would jeopardize Tammy Moorer’s opportunity to receive a fair trial, according to the memo filed Tuesday.
“In defendant’s memorandum, she makes clear that she wishes to publicize to the media inadmissible character evidence. Defendant states she desires to present ‘an accurate image – who she is and who she is not –all in an effort to repair the damage that has been done to her reputation,” according to the memo.
Tammy Moorer, 42, and her husband, Sidney Moorer, 39, are each charged with murder and kidnapping in Elvis’ disappearance. The couple are free on bond, which includes conditions that the couple are ordered to stay five miles away from the home of Heather Elvis’ parents, be electronically monitored and report to court.
The Jan. 30 bond hearing was the third for Tammy Moorer and second such hearing for Sidney Moorer.
Elvis, who was 20 at the time, was reported missing Dec. 19, 2013, after Horry County police found her car, which was registered to her father, parked at the Peachtree boat landing. Elvis’ keys, cellphone and purse were not found in the locked car and she remains missing.
She was last heard from the day before.
During the couple’s first bond hearing on March 17, prosecutors pointed to cellphone records and video surveillance to build their case against them. But defense attorneys said the evidence is circumstantial, with no link to tie the couple to Elvis’ disappearance.
The same evidence was pointed out during the January bond hearing for the couple, and prosecutors said they had no direct evidence in the case.
On March 21, an Horry County grand jury indicted the Moorers on the murder and kidnapping charges, according to court records.
The couple also face two counts of indecent exposure and one count of obstructing justice, according to court records.
In June, state officials charged the couple with making a false statement on an application for Medicaid and obtaining a signature or property under false pretenses with a value of $10,000 or more, authorities said.