South Carolina’s Supreme Court rejected an effort by Horry County prosecutors to move the cases of Sidney and Tammy Moorer under one judge.
The decision seemingly paves the way for Tammy Moorer’s trial related to the kidnapping of Heather Elvis to move forward next week.
The cases of Tammy and Sidney Moorer, her husband, have drawn interest across the country. The duo is accused of kidnapping and conspiracy in the case of Elvis, who was 20 years old when she vanished Dec. 18, 2013, and has not been found. Her car was discovered at Peachtree boat landing in Socastee.
The state initially charged both Moorers with kidnapping and murder, but prosecutors eventually dropped the murder charges. Sidney Moorer went to trial on the kidnapping charge in 2016, but a jury deadlocked.
That case has not been retried and remains active.
Sidney Moorer was found guilty last year of obstructing the police investigation. Judge R. Markley Dennis, who was appointed to hear the case, sentenced him to 10 years in prison.
In April, a grand jury indicted both Sidney and Tammy Moorer for conspiracy to kidnap. The most recent indictments do not name Elvis as the victim, but say the Moorers conspired on the day Elvis disappeared.
Last week, Supreme Court Chief Justice Donald Beatty issued an order that denied a request by the 15th Judicial Circuit Solicitor’s Office to move all the cases under a single judge or to allow the 15th Judicial District administrative judge to handle all the charges. Beatty’s order says the cases should be handled in the traditional method for General Session cases in Horry County.
Currently, Judge Benjamin Culbertson oversees Tammy Moorer’s case. Dennis oversees Sidney Moorer’s trial.
Culbertson previously scheduled Tammy Moorer’s trial to start Oct. 8. According to the Horry County clerk of court, Tammy Moorer’s trial remains scheduled for next week.
The state sought to move the trials under one judge as they involve the same set of facts and the same witnesses.