Sidney and Tammy Moorer, the Myrtle Beach couple charged with murder and kidnapping in the Heather Elvis case, were granted permission to leave South Carolina on Sunday for a job interview in Florida, a judge ruled Thursday.
The couple petitioned to have their bonds modified to allow for Sidney Moorer, who does restaurant repairs for national chains such as Red Lobster, to go to Orlando, Fla., for the job interview and stay there a week. Their attorneys said they have not been able to find work in Horry County because of the publicity involved in the case.
“They have really been struggling financially. All we are asking is so he can work to earn a living,” Sidney Moorer’s attorney Kirk Truslow said during Thursday’s hearing in Charleston.
Horry County’s home detention “can monitor him anywhere in the country,” Truslow said, and declined to name the company Moorer is interviewing with to prevent interference by others.
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Tammy Moorer was also included in the motion and is allowed to leave with her husband, whom she helps with his restaurant repair business, the couple’s attorneys said.
After the hearing, the couple left the Charleston County Courthouse holding hands and smiling. They were accompanied by their three children and Tammy Moorer’s mother.
Circuit Court Judge Markley Dennis said during Thursday’s hearing the couple had no violations with their bond since being released in January. He also said he would hear from attorneys if the bond needed to be modified again if Sidney Moorer got the job and said the amount of the bond could change then.
“Both sides are working diligently to bring this case to trial ... that is where we will resolve this case,” Dennis said. “If something goes wrong with the [GPS ankle] monitor the state can immediately arrest him until it is resolved.”
Dennis said he had no problem with the couple working in states contiguous to South Carolina such as Georgia or North Carolina and would modify their bonds to allow it. He told the attorneys to notify him about the couple’s work situation and he would either sign an order to allow their bonds to be modified or hold another hearing.
Sidney Moorer, 39, and his 43-year-old wife, Tammy Moorer, were each charged with murder and kidnapping by Horry County police in February 2014 in connection with Elvis’ disappearance. The couple were each released in January on $100,000 bail following a hearing before Dennis in Charleston.
Restrictions on their bond included GPS monitoring, that they stay five miles away from the home of Heather Elvis’ parents and report to court. Those conditions are still in effect.
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.
After Thursday’s hearing, Truslow said the modification was common sense to allow the Moorers to work.
“I’m extremely happy it was modified to meet the needs of this family,” Truslow said.
Tammy Moorer’s attorney, Greg McCollum, said he was restricted in what he could say after the hearing because of a gag order, but the motion was filed for the couple to help them continue their lives until the case is resolved.
“Both Sidney and Tammy are trying to live a normal life while this is pending,” McCollum said.
During a March 17, 2014, bond hearing for the couple, prosecutors pointed to cellphone records and video surveillance to build their case against the couple. But defense attorneys said the evidence is circumstantial with no link to tie the couple to Elvis’ disappearance.
During that hearing, Circuit Court Judge Steven John denied to set bond for the couple on the charges of murder and kidnapping.
On March 21, 2014, an Horry County grand jury indicted the Moorers on the murder and kidnapping charges, according to court records. Also on that day, Circuit Court Judge Steven John issued a gag order, which prohibits any prosecutors, defense attorneys or their staffs and members of law enforcement, who have investigated the case, to speak publicly or release documents regarding the case.
Other than the media, the families of Heather Elvis and the Moorers were the only people to attend Thursday’s hearing. At previous hearings, the courtrooms have been crowded with supporters on both sides.
Terry Elvis, Heather Elvis’ father, was visibly upset at the end of Thursday’s hearing and left the courtroom immediately. The Elvis family declined to comment after the hearing.
Jimmy Richardson, the 15th Circuit Solicitor, said he did not meet with the Elvis family before the hearing to explain the motion for bond reconsideration. Prosecutors met with the Elvis family for more than an hour after the hearing.
“Everybody is innocent until proven guilty. This is not the battle, this is simply where should they go and what they should do while out on bond,” Richardson said after the hearing. “If he gets a job where is the job ... if something needs to be changed we can always change it.”
A trial date was set for May, but it was postponed and Richardson said another trial date has not been set.
The couple also face two counts of indecent exposure and one count of obstructing justice, according to court records.
In June 2014, 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.