After a judge handed down the maximum sentence of 10 years for Sidney Moorer at his obstruction of justice trial, the family of Heather Elvis said they were overwhelmed with emotion.
“I’m kind of a little bit numb and it’s like a shock,” said Debbi Elvis, mother of the missing Socastee woman.
Moorer was charged with stalling the case when Elvis disappeared in December 2013. His three-day trial came to a close Wednesday afternoon and a jury returned a guilty verdict in just under an hour.
“You just don’t want to get your hopes up anymore, so you refuse to get your hopes up, and then they say guilty, and … you don’t realize how much it stressed you out and stressed your whole body out,” said Debbi Elvis.
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Heather Elvis went missing Dec. 18, 2013, and her mother said she hoped the trial would stir up more information as to her whereabouts.
She said Wednesday’s verdict felt like a step in the right direction.
“I don’t want to say I’m happy because I’m not happy,” she said. “There was no good outcome for this trial because … a father just went to jail, but it is a step in the right direction.”
Moorer is the father of three children. He sat calmly as the verdict was read and the judge passed sentencing. Prosecutors and the family asked for the maximum of 10 years while the defense asked for leniency and credit for time served. Moorer did receive credit for 345 days he previously served in jail in connection to the case from 2014 to 2015.
His attorneys filed a motion to direct the verdict to the judge and have him rule on the case instead of handing it to the jury on the grounds the State didn’t meet their burden of proof.
The judge ruled that he would let the jury decide, and Moorer’s attorneys Kirk Truslow and James Galmore plan to file an appeal based on that motion.
Sidney Moorer is also charged with kidnapping in connection with Elvis’ disappearance, and a hung jury led to a mistrial on that charge last summer. A re-trial date has not been set yet. Moorer’s wife Tammy is also charged with kidnapping in the case, but has not been to trial, and a date for her is not set.
Morgan Elvis, Heather’s younger sister, was present with family throughout the trial and said she was glad to see movement on the case.
“Right now, you kind of feel like the ground is falling out from underneath you … but it’s a really great feeling,” she said.
The Elvis family said they thought there wasn’t one single piece of evidence that swayed the jury, but rather a whole picture that came together during Assistant Solicitor Nancy Livesay’s closing argument.
“The Solicitor’s Office was painting a picture … and it was a Picasso,” said Terry Elvis, Heather’s father.