First witnesses take the stand in Tammy Moorer kidnapping trial

First witnesses take the stand in Tammy Moorer kidnapping trial
Tammy Moorer wipes her eyes as opening statements take place Tuesday during her kidnapping trial. (Source: WMBF News)

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – The kidnapping trial of Tammy Moorer began with opening statements on Tuesday morning.

Moorer is charged in connection with the Decemember 2013 disappearance of Heather Elvis.

“We are here because she can’t be,” solicitor Christopher Helms said during his opening statement while pointing to a photo of Elvis that was displayed for the jury.

In their opening, the prosecution noted that Elvis and Tammy Moorer’s husband, Sidney Moorer, had a relationship. Eventually, the defendant called Elvis to confront her.

The prosecution said during its opening that witnesses will testify that Heather was scared.

Defense attorney Casey Brown said in his opening statement no one is going to get on the witness stand and say Tammy Moorer and Heather Elvis were physically together. He added there is no evidence from Elvis showing she was in the Moorers' truck.

The first witness of the trial was Jessica Cooke, who was at a manager at the former Tilted Kilt at Broadway at the Beach, where Elvis worked in 2013.

According to Cooke, she was aware of the relationship between Elvis and Sidney Moorer.

Defense wraps up opening statement. First witness called by the state is Jessica Cooke. She worked at the Tilted Kilt back in 2013.

Moorer also worked there as a maintenance technician and would bring Elvis bagels and coffee, according to the witness.

On cross examination by the defense, Cooke was asked about Elvis’ weight gain. The witness said Elvis took a pregnancy test that came back as an error.

The second witness of the day was Jodi Davenport, who worked as server at the Tilted Kilt in 2013 and was friendly with Elvis.

According to Davenport’s testimony, Elvis was afraid of Tammy Moorer but not Sidney Moorer.

On cross examination from the defense, Davenport noted she never Tammy Moorer in person and that the defendant never came to the Tilted Kilt.

Stephen Schiraldi, who also testified during Sidney Moorer’s 2016 kidnapping trial, took the stand and recounted going on a date with Elvis on Dec. 17, 2013, just before she disappeared.

According to Schiraldi, he and Elvis had dinner at Bandito’s restaurant, he taught her how to drive a manual transmission, they went to the movies, and then he took her home. The two planned to meet up the next day, he testified.

Schiraldi said he tried to get in touch with Elvis the next day, but she didn’t answer. He testified Elvis’ roommate contacted him later to say they couldn’t find her.

The final witness before the lunch break was Horry County Police Cpl. Casey Guskiewicz, who showed dashcam video of a re-creation of the route he took to Peachtree Landing, where he found Elvis’ car.

That video, he testified, was taken on a different night with the same conditions.

After lunch, more law enforcement officers testified.

Sgt. Danny Furr took the stand. He’s with the Horry County Police Department and said he was a corporal back in 2013. Furr said he called Sidney Moorer after he visited the Tilted Kilt and found out about the relationship between Sidney and Heather. He eventually sent an officer to visit him at his home. That officer, Kenneth Canterbury, later testified.

Canterbury said Moorer met him at the end of the driveway and they talked for a few minutes.

To end day one of the trial, the jury heard testimony from employees at cell phone carrierr companies. John Keep works for Sprint and provides phone records based on legal demand. He talked about the phone numbers registered under Tammy Moorer’s name and their contact with phone numbers that are registered with the Elvis family.

An employee with T-Mobile testified last on Tuesday and discussed the contact between a phone belonging to the Elvis’s and phones belonging to the Moorer’s.

Previously, Sidney Moorer was tried for kidnapping. His June 2016 trial ended in a hung jury.

Follow WMBF reporter Marissa Tansino, who is live tweeting from the courtroom.

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