Crime

Sidney Moorer was back on trial Monday after a weekend break. Here is what happened.

State prosecutors rested their case on Monday after five days of testimony — a move that allowed the defense to start calling witnesses.

Sidney and Tammy Moorer were charged with kidnapping related to the disappearance of Heather Elvis on Dec. 18, 2013. Elvis was last tracked to Peachtree Landing during the early morning hours. She has not been seen since.

Prosecutors say Tammy Moorer grew jealous over an affair between Sidney Moorer and Elvis. Authorities believe the Moorers lured Elvis to the landing where they kidnapped her. A jury convicted Tammy Moorer last year, and she is serving 30 years in prison.

The first trial for Sidney Moorer ended in a hung jury. He later was found guilty of obstruction of justice and sentenced to 10 years in prison. His retrial in Horry County on the kidnapping charges started last week.

Sidney Moorer’s defense attorneys described the police investigation as rushed because of community interest in the case.

Last week, the state played a never-before-seen video that showed Sidney Moorer and Tammy Moorer cleaning their truck. The video was shot by surveillance cameras on the Moorer property five days after Elvis went missing.

The video lasted hours and included the Moorers disposing of the cleaning rags in a “burn pile.”

Jacob Mouton was friends with one of the Moorer children and spent time at their house. He said Monday he saw the surveillance system monitor in Tammy’s and Sidney’s bedroom. He also said he never saw the Moorers clean their vehicle during one of his visits.

“Had you seen Sidney and Tammy wash their truck?” Senior Assistant Solicitor Nancy Livesay asked.

“Never,” Mouton said on Monday.

The state previously introduced police photographs taken from when police visited their house. One photo included a shotgun shell, cement and cleaning supplies on the Moorer property. During cross-examination, Mouton said it was not unusual to see a shell casing at the Moorer house as they went hunting.

Tammy Moorer’s cousin Donald Demarino also testified. He told the jury that Sidney Moorer showed him a photo after Elvis went missing. The photo reportedly showed Elvis, and Demarino said the image upset him.

Sidney Moorer’s defense attorney James Galmore questioned Demarino about his extensive criminal history. Demarino is currently in the J. Reuben Long detention center on a host of charges. Galmore also said that Demarino told his mother he made up the story about the photo.

Demarino told the jury the state did not offer leniency in exchange for his testimony and he came forward to help the case.

“Cause it’s the right thing,” Demarino said.

Defense witnesses

Sidney Moorer told a judge at the end of Monday’s proceedings he has not determined if he will testify.

Defense attorneys called a few witnesses on Sidney Moorer’s behalf, including Bruce Koenig, a forensic expert. Koenig reviewed a study by a state expert. That expert used headlight patterns on surveillance video from near Peachtree Landing to determine it was the Moorers truck in the vicinity when Elvis went missing.

“There is nothing unique in the picture,” Koenig said. “Even if the video was high quality.”

It can’t be a subtle difference — it has to be a unique feature — to determine the headlight pattern of a specific truck, Koenig said. He said the truck on video was a Ford F-150, which is the model owned by the Moorers. But, it can’t be proven the truck on the video was the one owned by Sidney Moorer.

As Livesay questioned him, Koenig said he only reviewed the state’s experts findings and did not do any testing by himself.

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Alex Lang is the True Crime reporter for The Sun News covering the legal system and how crime impacts local residents. He says letting residents know if they are safe is a vital role of a newspaper. Alex has covered crime in Detroit, Iowa, New York City, West Virginia and now Horry County.
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