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Moorer found guilty in obstruction trial, sentenced to 10 years

jlee@thesunnews.com

Sidney Moorer was found guilty by a jury Wednesday afternoon in Conway. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison, with credit for almost a year already served in prison.

A jury found Moorer guilty of stalling the investigation into the disappearance of missing Socastee woman Heather Elvis. She was 20 years old when she vanished in December 2013 and still has not been found.

In a separate trial for kidnapping last summer, a jury deadlocked when deciding if Moorer was responsible for Elvis’s disappearance. A date for a new trial has not been set. Moorer’s wife, Tammy Moorer, also faces kidnapping charges in the Elvis case.

Prosecutors argued that Sidney Moorer lied to police about his contact with Elvis on Dec. 18, 2013, the day she disappeared.

“Every time you catch that defendant in one story, you hear something else,” said Assistant Solicitor Nancy Livesay during her closing argument. Livesay is prosecuting the case along with Assistant Solicitor Josh Holford.

Livesay spoke to the jury for nearly an hour and stated that from the moment police first contacted Moorer within the first 48 hours of Elvis being missing, he misled them.

“He misled them from the beginning,” she said, claiming he didn’t tell them about a payphone call he made to Elvis until police told him they had video evidence.

She also claimed he deleted text messages from his phone, two of which she said were from Moorer asking Elvis to call him, before showing it to police who came to his home during the early hours of Dec. 20, 2013. She showed the jury phone records and said they told part of the story of his deceit.

Livesay said Moorer lied to police and fed them misinformation in an effort to shift the glare of suspicion away from himself as the clock ticked during the most important first hours of the investigation.

Kirk Truslow, one of Moorer’s attorney defending him along with his public defender, James Galmore, told the jury not to buy the prosecution’s case and said he was offended by how “dishonest and slippery” they had been.

“They’ve fumbled this thing for four years in ways you and I can’t imagine,” he said.

Truslow questioned the police’s work on the case too.

“They obstructed themselves,” he said. “They impeded themselves”

Moorer decided not to take the stand, but seemed reluctant to turn down the offer, and became emotional when telling the judge he wouldn’t, wiping his face with a napkin at one point.

The defense did not call any witnesses.

Tammy’s cousin, Donald DeMarino, testified that Moorer showed him something on a cellphone related to the case after Moorer was released from jail.

DeMarino told the court he had been jailed multiple times in Horry County, and was approached by a detective while jailed on a failure to appear charge.

“I was in a dark place in this time in my life,” he said when asked why he didn’t come forward previously. “I didn’t know what to do. … I held it in for so long.”

He was not able to tell the court the alleged evidence he was shown.

The judge has set specific boundaries in the case preventing attorneys from delving into the kidnapping charge attached to it.

On Tuesday, Elvis’ former roommate testified Elvis called her on Dec. 18, 2013, the day she disappeared, and said Elvis contacted her very upset after getting a payphone call from Moorer, but the judge ruled she couldn’t discuss what was said, deeming it hearsay.

Other witnesses called discussed phone records, showed text exchanges and movements, surveillance footage of Moorer at Wal-Mart. Multiple officers took the stand also. And so did the man Elvis went on a date with on Dec. 17, 2013. Her former manager testified too and briefly described how the breakup with Elvis and Moorer was tough on her at first, but she was just starting to become her old self again.

The trial began on Monday with the testimony of several police officers stating they thought Moorer was dishonest with them about a payphone call and other information.

Elizabeth Townsend: 843-626-0217, @TSN_etownsend

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