Text messages read in court nearly lead to a mistrial in Tammy Moorer case

Dozens of text messages sent by Tammy Moorer – many including salacious and sexually-explicit conversations – nearly led to a mistrial in a high-profile kidnapping trial.

On Tuesday, Will Lynch, a police investigator, testified about text messages and phone calls on the Moorers’ phones in the days and weeks before Heather Elvis’ disappearance on Dec. 18, 2013. He also spoke about phone activity the morning she went missing.

The Moorers are charged with Elvis’ kidnapping, and Tammy is currently on trial in Horry County. State solicitors say Tammy grew angry and jealous over an affair between, her husband, Sidney, and Elvis.

Elvis called Sidney Moorer early the morning she went missing, Lynch said.

“It looks like at 3:17 a.m., there was an inbound call from Heather Elvis that last 261 seconds,” Lynch testified.

After that call, there were no more conversations until 3:38 a.m., when Elvis made several more calls, Lynch said. Those calls all went to voicemail.

There were no more communications until 4:37 a.m., when there was a conversation between Sidney and Tammy Moorer – which prosecutors say was the first in months between the two – in which Tammy asked Sidney to bring her orange juice and pot stickers.

In the nearly-hour gap, that is when prosecutors say Elvis went missing from the Peachtree Landing area of Socastee. She has not been found.

Lynch’s testimony wasn’t without fireworks as he also read many sexual-based text messages from Tammy’s, Sidney’s and Elvis’ phones. Some included alleged conversations by Tammy using Sidney’s phone to communicate with an 18-year-old man.

There were also texts between Tammy and a friend in early November. The friend stated she was considering going to the Tilted Kilt, where Elvis worked, for a drink. The friend decided to only pass the establishment and didn’t see Elvis.

“I think that b**** is in hiding,” Tammy responded, Lynch said.

The sexually-explicit text messages led to Tammy’s defense lawyers to ask for a mistrial.

“This is the most blush-worthy language I’ve ever experienced,” said Greg McCollum.

Defense attorneys objected several times during the testimony and argued the reading of messages and said it went more to Tammy Moorer’s character — which has not been introduced as evidence — and not to the crime.

Senior Assistant Solicitor Nancy Livesay said the conversations showed the days before Elvis went missing and retaliation by Tammy after Sidney and Elvis’ affair.

Judge Benjamin Culbertson chastised the state for continuing to read the messages, and more than once told them to move on and that they made their point, but stopped short of declaring a mistrial.

The trial against Tammy Moorer is now in its second week. Prosecutors initially charged Tammy and Sidney Moorer with kidnapping and murder, but the murder charges were dropped. Sidney Moorer went to trial on the kidnapping charge in 2016, but a jury deadlocked. That case has not been retried and remains active.

Last year, a jury found Sidney Moorer guilty 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 Sidney and Tammy Moorer on conspiracy to kidnap charges.

Tammy Moorer has maintained her innocence.

Elvis roommate testifies

Elvis’ roommate, Brianna Warrelmann, also took the witness stand Tuesday. Warrelmann and Elvis worked and eventually lived together, but didn’t get along when they first met.

Elvis and Sidney were in a relationship that ended in late October, Warrelmann said, and Elvis was hurt over the break-up. Elvis started to move on and in December had her first date after the relationship.

Bri Warrelman looks at photos of her home Tuesday during the trial of Tammy Moorer. Moorer is on trial for kidnapping and conspiracy related to the 2013 disappearance of Heather Elvis. Warrelman was Elvis’s roommate at the time. Josh Bell jbell@thesunnews.com

On the day Elvis disappeared, Warrelmann said she spoke to Elvis by phone at 1:44 a.m. The conversation lasted about 10 minutes, Warrelmann said as her voice trailed off and cracked.

“I told her not to do anything rash and to get some sleep and that we would talk about it in the morning,” Warrelmann said. “My exact words were, ‘Do not call Sidney back, don’t do anything rash and we will talk about it tomorrow.’”

Livesay asked Warrelmann when she and Elvis next spoke. “I haven’t,” Warrelmann said with her voice cracking again.

Warrelmann said she never met Tammy Moorer, but Elvis “was scared of Tammy.” That wasn’t the case with Sidney; Elvis wasn’t afraid of him. Tammy stared at the witness box showing little emotion as Warrelmann delivered the next line.

“She loved him.”

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