South Carolina

Sidney Moorer trial: Surveillance photos show Moorer purchasing pregnancy test, cigar

jblackmon@thesunnews.com

As the kidnapping trial for Sidney Moorer entered its second day at the Horry County Courthouse in Conway, store video surveillance showed Moorer bought a pregnancy test and cigar the day Heather Elvis vanished, according to testimony.

The state showed several instances captured on surveillance footage, including Moorer buying the pregnancy test, a truck traveling to and from the direction of Peachtree Boat Landing where Elvis’ car was found abandoned and other security footage evidence and photographs.

Amelia Bethea, South Carolina Law Enforcement Division agent, testified she obtained a surveillance recording from the Seaboard Street Wal-Mart where Moorer can be seen parking his truck in a handicap space and entering the store about 1:12 a.m. on Dec. 18, 2013. He then selected a test and purchased it, along with a cigar, at 1:19 a.m., according to a time-stamped receipt, Bethea testified.

Terry Elvis, Heather Elvis’ father, said he couldn’t say whether Heather Elvis, who was 20 years old when she disappeared, was pregnant at the time she went missing. She has not been found since Dec. 18, 2013.

“We’ve heard different testimony just like you have,” Terry Elvis told media outside the courtroom when proceedings wrapped for the day. “Usually you don’t believe something until you see it, and we’re not in a position to see that yet,” he said when asked if he knew whether Elvis was pregnant.

Three of Elvis’ former co-workers at the former Broadway at the Beach restaurant Titled Kilt said they believed Elvis could have been pregnant because they knew of her sexual involvement with Moorer, who worked at the restaurant as a maintenance man. The coworkers said Elvis was putting on weight, according to Monday’s testimony.

Elvis took a pregnancy test, but the test read “error” and was inconclusive, witnesses testified Monday.

Stephen Schiraldi, who went on a date with Elvis on Dec. 17, 2013, testified he was likely the last person to see Elvis before she disappeared.

“Would you agree with me that you are the last individual to lay eyes on Heather Elvis?” Kirk Truslow, Moorer’s attorney asked Schiraldi during a cross-examination.

“To my knowledge, yes,” said Schiraldi.

Schiraldi and Elvis went to the same high school, but didn’t know each other well during that time; however, they were linked on social media after high school, and Schiraldi asked her on a date.

On Dec. 17 2013, they went to Bandito’s Restaurant and Cantina in Myrtle Beach before Schiraldi took her to an empty mall parking lot to teach her how to drive his manual truck. Then the two went to his mother’s home where he lived in Murrells Inlet to watch a movie.

Schiraldi dropped Elvis off at her apartment around 1:15 to 1:30 a.m. Dec. 18, 2013, stayed roughly five minutes, made plans to see her again around 3 p.m. when he got off work, shared a goodnight kiss with her outside, and left, he testified.

He tried contacting her the next day but never heard back and was later called by Elvis’ roommate, who told him she was missing.

Schiraldi testified that he did not leave his home again until 9 a.m. Dec. 18, 2013.

Casy Guskiewicz, an Horry County police officer, testified that he was patrolling in the area of Peachtree Boat Landing, and discovered Elvis’ car there locked and abandoned with all its windows intact about 4 a.m. on Dec. 18, 2013.

Video of Sidney Moorer speaking with Horry County police for about 10 minutes around 2:15 a.m. Dec. 20, 2013, at the end of Moorer’s driveway was also shown in court, and Moorer was not a suspect at that time police questioned him then. The video was from a body camera worn by Kenneth Canterbury, an Horry County police officer who took the stand Tuesday.

In the video, Moorer said he didn’t go to Peachtree Boat Landing and said he had ended his involvement with Elvis.

"I'm trying to fix things with my wife. … I'm not denying it. I'm saying I ended it,” Moorer could be heard saying on the video, which had poor quality.

Canterbury and another officer were questioned by Truslow about an abusive ex-boyfriend of Elvis’.

Jill Domogauer, an Horry County police crime scene investigator, took the stand and told the court she examined Elvis’ car and apartment and found no signs of a struggle. Terry Elvis was the registered owner of the car and had driven it to his home while wearing gloves, police said.

Prior to Domogauer’s testimony, Jonathan Martin with Horry County police gave a run down of Elvis’ cellphone records, which he said he authenticated.

He testified on that Elvis received a call from a Seaboard Street and Mr. Joe White Avenue Kangaroo gas station payphone around 1:35 a.m. Dec. 18, 2013. The call lasted about five minutes. She then called her roommate Brianna Warrelmann and spoke with her for a little more than two minutes.

Next, she called the payphone back nine times and never had another conversation with anyone.

Truslow said in court Monday and Tuesday that Moorer did use the payphone and called Elvis to ask her to stop leaving notes on his car.

Elvis called Moorer’s phone around 3:17 a.m. and spoke to someone for more than four minutes then. Elvis made other calls to Moorer’s cellphone, but had no further conversation, and the last call ever made from Elvis’ cellphone was at 3:41 a.m., Martin testified.

Joyce Aland, a Horry County resident, who lives near the landing, and David Quandt, who works at a business near the landing, both gave surveillance footage caught by their cameras to police, which shows a truck traveling in the early morning hours of Dec. 18, 2013.

In footage from Quandt’s video, a truck can be seen traveling in the direction of the landing about 3:38 a.m. Dec. 18, 2013, and then traveling back from the area roughly eight minutes later.

On Wednesday morning Circuit Court Judge R. Markley Dennis will travel with the jury to view the cameras at the request of the state.

“It’s been a long day. Covered a lot of ground. A lot of things that we hadn’t heard brought out. Glad to see brought out. I feel confident that we’re gonna see justice,” Terry Elvis said after court.

Moorer is also charged with obstruction of justice in connection with the case, but Dennis ruled June 14 to try that charge separately after a motion was filed by Truslow requesting that the charges be tried separately.

Moorer’s wife, Tammy, also is charged with kidnapping, but her trial date has not been set.

Sidney and Tammy Moorer were charged with murder in connection to the case in 2014, but the murder charges were dismissed in March.

Elizabeth Townsend: 843-626-0217, @TSN_etownsend

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