Witness testifies about how Heather Elvis looked in photo after she went missing

Tammy Moorer’s cousin, Donald Demarino, testifies Wednesday during the trial of Tammy Moorer at the Horry County courthouse.
Tammy Moorer’s cousin, Donald Demarino, testifies Wednesday during the trial of Tammy Moorer at the Horry County courthouse. jbell@thesunnews.com

Tammy Moorer’s cousin said he was at the Moorers’ house for a cookout after Heather Elvis went missing and saw a photo of Elvis on a phone.

It did not appear Elvis could walk or talk in the photo, Donald Demarino said.

He added the photo was taken for Tammy Moorer and that he did not expect to see Elvis again after viewing the photo. The picture caused him to leave the residence.

“I don’t know … I really don’t know,” Demarino said of his reaction to the photo.

Demarino was one of the final witnesses called by South Carolina solicitors. Prosecutors rested their case on Wednesday after seven days of testimony in a conspiracy and kidnapping trial against Tammy Moorer.

Tammy told a judge she planned to testify in her own defense, which could occur as early as Thursday.

During Demarino’s cross examination, he said he first told a police investigator about the photo while he was in jail on drug and robbery charges. It was only Demarino and Sidney Moorer, Tammy’s husband, present when he saw the picture, he said.

Defense attorney Greg McCollum pressed Demarino on his background and lies. One the defense claimed was Demarino lied from the witness stand on Wednesday about never telling his mother a lie.

The defense played a jail phone call between Demarino and his mother. In the call, Demarino told his mom there wasn’t a photo — a statement Demarino claimed was a lie so he wouldn’t stress his mother.

Demarino said the state hasn’t offered leniency or other benefit to his charges in return for his testimony.

Tammy and Sidney Moorer face charges in connection to the disappearance of Heather Elvis on Dec. 18, 2013. She was last known to be in the Peachtree Landing area of Socastee. Solicitors said Tammy grew jealous and angry over an affair between Sidney and Elvis and conspired to kidnap the victim.

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.

Sidney Moorer’s mom, Irene, took the witness stand on Wednesday morning. She said Tammy, Sidney and the children paid an unexpected visit on Christmas Eve 2013. Irene Moorer said the family had not visited in previous Christmases.

Irene Moorer said there was a conversation with herself, her husband, Tammy and Sidney that night. But, a judge did not allow her to get into the contents because it would have been hearsay evidence.

She said Tammy said she beat Sidney up, though the two appeared to be in a romantic relationship.

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