Sidney Moorer, who’s charged in the disappearance of Heather Elvis, may only face one charge at his trial next week.
Kirk Truslow, Moorer’s attorney, asked to keep Moorer’s kidnapping and obstruction of justice charges from being tried together during a pretrial hearing Monday morning. Judge Markley Dennis heard arguments from the defense and the Horry County Solicitor’s Office — who is prosecuting the case — but did not make a decision.
Moorer did not come clean immediately, it was several days later before he corrected himself.
Martin Spratlin, assistant solicitor
Moorer, 40, and his wife, Tammy Moorer, 43, face several charges related to the disappearance of Elvis, who was last seen December 2013. The solicitor’s office dropped the murder charges March 10, along with the obstruction of justice charge for Tammy Moorer. Indecent exposure charges against the couple also were dismissed.
Tammy Moorer did not attend the pretrial hearing.
“It’s just two separate charges with two separate fact patterns, two separate lists to do each one of them,” Truslow told the judge. “We don’t want to be in the position where we try two charges in the same case.”
Sidney Moorer’s trial is set to being at June 20. No more pretrial hearings will be heard this week.
Assistant solicitor Martin Spratlin said the charges should be tried together because they are both related to the disappearance of Elvis on Dec. 18, 2013. Detectives interviewed Moorer the night Elvis went missing, therefore it’s all connected, Spratlin said.
“The kidnapping and the obstruction of justice charge are interconnected,” he said.
Judge Dennis did not rule on the motion during Monday’s hearing, but said he would send an email with his ruling within the next few days.
The pretrial hearing only lasted about 20 minutes, to the relief of the Elvis family. Debbi Elvis, Heather Elvis’ mother, said the short hearing saved her from experiencing more grief and allowed them to get on with their day. The family did not want to comment on the outcome of the hearing — so as not to impact the jury pool — but said they just want to keep Heather’s picture in the public eye.
“Somebody knows something, at least one person has some information,” Debbi Elvis said. “We just need that one tip that’ll push it over the edge.”
Truslow filed documents in April to prohibit certain evidence, hold separate trials on Moorer’s remaining charges and suppress testimony by Elvis’ former roommate during the trial scheduled to start June 20. Only two motions were argued Monday morning, but the prosecution and defense met prior to the hearing in the judge’s chambers for about 40 minutes.
Those statement can no longer be admitted and will be allowed. There will be no challenge to their admissibility.
Circuit Court Judge Markely Dennis
Both the prosecution and defense agreed to allow two statements Moorer made to detectives during the investigation at the trial. Moorer’s obstruction of justice charge stems from those statements, which allege that Moorer initially told detectives that he did not use a pay phone after Elvis’ disappearance. He then changed his statements and told police he did use the pay phone, Spratlin said.
Truslow agreed to allow the statements, but said Moorer almost immediately “corrected” himself to the detectives.
“If he corrected himself within a minute, how far it goes to obstruct justice I don’t know,” Truslow said.
Claire Byun: 843-626-0381, @Claire_TSN