Opening statements in Tammy Moorer trial accused of kidnapping Heather Elvis
The plan to kidnap Heather Elvis started after Tammy Moorer found out her husband’s mistress was possibly pregnant, prosecutors said.
“When this gets out, this puzzle piece, and becomes common knowledge, the fire, the jealousy inside Tammy Moorer becomes rage,” said Chris Helms, assistant solicitor.
The state and defense laid out their views on Moorer’s case of conspiracy and kidnapping during her trial on Tuesday. Tammy’s and Sidney Moorer’s cases have drawn interest across the country. Police say the duo kidnapped and conspired to kidnap Elvis — a 20-year-old who vanished Dec. 18, 2013, and has not been found.
The state initially charged both Moorers with kidnapping and murder, but prosecutors later 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. 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. The most recent indictments do not name Elvis as the victim, but say the Moorers conspired on the day Elvis disappeared.
Elvis and Sidney Moorer had an affair that ended. But, Helms said, evidence will show that Elvis believed she could be pregnant. When Tammy Moorer found out, that is when the kidnapping plan started, the prosecutor said.
In December, Elvis was lured to Peachtree Landing in the Socastee area — a remote and desolate area of Horry County — at 4 a.m., Helms said. The only person who met her there was Tammy Moorer, the prosecutor said.
Elvis was kidnapped, Helms said, and admitted he doesn’t know what happened next.
“She knows wherever she is,” Helms said speaking of Elvis. “Sidney Moorer knows, and that woman right over there knows,” he said, pointing to Tammy Moorer.
The state’s case is based on circumstantial evidence, Helms said, adding “there’s a heck of a lot of circumstances.”
Defense attorneys argued the state’s case is one of trying to put a square peg in a round hole.
“The government is trying to make Tammy the scapegoat,” defense attorney Casey Brown said.
There was no face-to-face meeting between Tammy Moorer and Heather Elvis, Brown said. Nor was there an agreement, conspiracy to kidnap, he said.
Tammy Moorer’s case has dragged for about five years, and Tammy Moorer has had to endure rumors on social media, Brown said.
“She’s been living in this dark cloud waiting to tell her story,” Brown said, “waiting to tell the truth, waiting to clear her name.”
A few witnesses, including Elvis’ coworkers and friends, took the stand on Tuesday.
Jessica Cooke was the manager at the Tilted Kilt where Elvis worked. Cooke said she knew of a relationship between Sidney Moorer and Elvis. At one point, Elvis took a pregnancy test that came back with an error.
Several police officers also testified about their investigative efforts. Then-Horry County Police officer Casey Guskiewicz found Elvis’ car at the Peachtree Landing the day she went missing. He said the area was not lit and nothing appeared mechanically wrong with the car.
Guskiewicz said he didn’t find anything in the water or the swamp and no people around. He added there was nothing in the area to indicate a struggle.