Moorer Trial "10 Second Lie"
Day Two of the trial on obstruction of justice started Tuesday morning for Sidney Moorer in Conway at the Horry County Courthouse.
Moorer is charged with stalling the investigation into Socastee woman Heather Elvis’ Deccember 2013 disappearance. Elvis still has not been found.
Jeff Cauble, formerly with Horry County police, stated he was the lead investigator on the case and took the stand for about two hours Tuesday.
A portion of an interview with Moorer, Cauble, and Sgt. Jonathan Martin was played in court Tuesday morning.
During the interview on Dec. 20, 2013, which was roughly two days after Elvis disappeared, Moorer told police he used a payphone to contact Elvis that night after they told him they had video evidence of the payphone, according to court testimony.
“Do they still have payphones?,” Moorer said when initially asked whether he used a payphone to contact her, but quickly changed his statement when detectives revealed they had video footage.
Cauble said Moorer mislead police, not only in the Dec. 20, 2013 where he spoke with several detectives, including former HCPD Detective Allen Large, but when he spoke with other officers who contacted him twice after Elvis went missing, he testified.
Cauble said Moorer’s dishonesty about using the payphone caused detectives to doubt all the information he told them when he spoke with them for more than an hour on Dec. 20, 2013.
“If someone spits in my coffee, I’m not going to drink around it,” he told the court as an example of how one instance is enough to taint an entire interview.
He said Moorer mislead police during the two instances he spoke with them before Dec. 20, 2013 also by not telling them about the payphone call.
“He was telling the truth about certain things, but leaving things out as well,” Cauble said of his interview with Moorer, and said detectives took time and resources to comb out the truth.
He said Moorer also didn’t tell investigators he was in the area of Longbeard’s Bar and Grill in the Carolina Forest area that night, which Cauble said would have been relevant, because later detectives believe Elvis was at Longbeard’s before vanishing during the early morning hours.
Moorer told police he was out with his wife at his side throughout the night on Dec. 17, 2013 and into the early morning hours of Dec. 18, 2013, and that he only used the payphone at about 1:30 a.m. to tell Elvis to leave him alone and to stop leaving notes on his truck.
He told Cauble and other detectives that his marriage had suffered after his wife learned of the affair between him and Elvis, and that he had since gotten things back on track, and wanted to keep it that way. Moorer had agreed to let his wife handcuff them to their bed for six months, and said he was chained to it later that night.
He said he called Elvis in secret on the payphone, parking at a distance, so his wife wouldn’t see.
Cauble said he questioned whether Moorer and his wife Tammy were in a good place, because he said phone records revealed she was texting someone who was her boyfriend that night, according to testimony.
Moorer is also heard on the recorded interview played in court stating he didn’t want to take a lie detector test without an attorney when asked by detectives, stating confrontation made him nervous.
Kirk Truslow, one of Moorer’s defense attorneys, questioned Cauble on the stand and asked if he was told Moorer’s every single movement that night.
Truslow said Moorer was there at the police station on Dec. 20, 2013 of his own free will answering questions and was under no obligation to discuss every single step he took that night, and Cauble told the court they didn’t ask specific questions about his route when questioned on it.
Truslow also asked Cauble about the difference between misleading police and omission, and argued Moorer was never asked specific questions about being near Elvis’ home and Longbeard’s because he was not asked those questions.
Truslow asked what detectives if the investigation “could” have been different or “would” have been different if Moorer had given police different information, and Cauble stated that it “could” have been different.
On Monday, the trial got underway in the early afternoon after a jury, made up of mainly men, was chosen. Several Horry County police detectives took the stand as witnesses before the trial wrapped for the day.
Sgt. Jonathan Martin was grilled by Truslow while on the stand. Truslow argued that Moorer actually helped detectives by identifying himself in surveillance video detectives had obtained from a 10th Avenue gas station pay phone – the payphone that was used to call Elvis the night she disappeared, according to testimony.
Truslow questioned Martin on how much time lapsed between Moorer denying using the payphone and Moorer saying he did, and Martin stated about 10 or 15 seconds. Truslow questioned how the brief amount time impeded the investigation. Martin said Moorer dishonesty caused them to question everything he said, and that he should have told police that information during the previous times they spoke with him.
Moorer is also charged with kidnapping in Elvis’ disappearance. A jury deadlocked at his kidnapping trial last summer, and a mistrial was declared.
The State plans to re-try Moorer on the charge, but a date for a new kidnapping trial has not yet been set.
Moorer’s wife Tammy, 45, is also charged with kidnapping in the case, but has not been to trial, and a court date has not been set.
Tammy Moorer was present with other family in the courtroom Monday and Tuesday.
The Moorers were initially charged with murder in Elvis’ disappearance, but those charges were later dropped in 2016 after the couple spent about a year in jail following their 2014 arrest.
Elvis’ abandoned car was found at Peachtree boat landing in the Socastee area on Dec. 19, 2013 – a place dubbed “the darkest hole in Horry County” by The State during the kidnapping trial.
Elvis remains missing, and since her disappearance, family and friends continue to gather at the landing for prayer vigils on the 18th of each month.