Defense attorneys insist Moorers are 'innocent until proven guilty'

Attorney insist Moorers are "innocent until proven guilty"
Greg McCollum, Tammy Moorer's defense attorney
Greg McCollum, Tammy Moorer's defense attorney
Kirk Truslow, Sidney Moorer's defense attorney
Kirk Truslow, Sidney Moorer's defense attorney

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - "Innocent until proven guilty," that's the message Tammy and Sidney Moorers' attorneys hope doesn't get lost in the murder charges and national speculation on television and social media.

Reporter Michael Maely say down with both attorneys and solicitor Jimmy Richardson for their exclusive perspective on the case

Authorities say even without the body of 20-year-old Heather Elvis, missing since mid-December, they're confident about this murder case.

"Just because you can't find the body, doesn't mean that the person hasn't been murdered, and if the person or people are good at hiding the body, that pretty much gives them a free pass," Solicitor Richardson said.

He says suspects may believe that: "We get the body hid well enough, you can't charge me with murder."

But prosecutors say that's an outlook they're prepared to battle; it's why they have charged husband and wife Sidney and Tammy Moorer with Heather's murder.

"We've tried a bunch of missing person cases throughout South Carolina," Richardson said "It's got its own technique; we'll try this case the same way."

"I'm looking forward to that trial date," said Kirk Truslow, Sidney Moorer's defense attorney. Truslow says Sidney has no knowledge of, nor connection to, any of the facts surrounding the disappearance of Heather Elvis.

"It's being put to me, if your client didn't do it, who did it? And that's a very bizarre thing to say, because that's completely opposite of how the system works," Truslow said. "If I were to say to you, 'You did this, but I believe you didn't do it if you can just go prove who did do it.' That's not how the system works."

Greg McCollum, Tammy Moorer's defense attorney said that, "She's asserted that she's innocent. She was home schooling her children, she loves her family, they love her, and that certainly is not the image that's been portrayed of her, primarily in social media."

When asked if he knew of any information that Tammy met or knew Heather, he responded: "I don't have any information that she met her or knew her."

McCollum says prosecutors haven't yet released evidence, as will be required during the discovery portion of the case, so most of what he's seen is coming from police reports.

"I haven't seen anything so far, that really significantly incriminates her," McCollum said. "What Michael Maely asked if Tammy ever told McCollum that she was innocent.

"I'm not in a position, representing her or anyone else, to start talking about things that she and I have spoken about, there can be some legal implications with that in terms of attorney client privilege, and it's just not something I'd feel comfortable commenting on a direct conversation I've had with her," McCollum responded.

The original arrest warrants state there is probable cause to believe Sidney and Tammy kidnapped Heather Elvis and murdered her at Peachtree Boat Landing on December 18, 2013. More details about the couple are emerging.

WMBF News was the first to break new information about the Moorers' home, details the police reported gathering the day they arrested the couple. The Horry County Police report mentions the home was is in disarray and unsanitary, with potatoes on the kitchen counter that had began to mold, and trash throughout the home, including in the children's bedrooms, which were also reported to be in disarray, described as "nearly in an unlivable manner."

Maely asked McCollum if this report raises concern about the claim of Tammy Moorer being a loving, caring mother.

McCollum responded: "Certainly not, not at this point. Some people have messy houses. I'd venture to say a lot of people have messy houses."

The report also mentions three guns were out in the open: two long guns leaning against the wall and a pistol on the nightstand in the same bedroom the Moorers and their three children were sleeping in during the arrest.

"Considering what I think was occurring, as far as threats, if they had guns, they had them for their protection, no evidence anyone was harmed, so it didn't seem to be a problem," McCollum said.

Authorities have said Sidney was having an affair with Elvis, and many have suggested the discovery of that affair could be a motive in the crime.

"I could see how people see that as a motive, certainly, it doesn't mean anything in terms of evidence or proof or in terms of reality," McCollum said.

"It's tempting to get out there and show why you believe in your client and be very specific and prove to people this and that, but that's just not the way to go about it," Truslow said. "We know the way to go about it is trial, so we have to wait for that."

During that wait, both attorneys are hoping people remember to separate fact from social media fiction.

"We've all seen throughout history a mob mentality where everybody just jumps on the same bandwagon only to find out later, that the majority of what you were relying on or listening to, was not even true," Truslow said.

"I'd just urge people not to reach a conclusion, to let the system work. If they're interested in it, watch it and observe it, but not to assume that someone's guilty simply because they've been arrested and charged," McCollum said.

Both defense attorneys say this case has attracted more media attention than anything they've faced in their decades of experience. They say that won't change the fairness and thoroughness they'll provide.

Solicitor Jimmy Richardson says the attention won't change his pursuit of justice either.

Find complete coverage of the Heather Elvis case, including exclusive details about Moorers from a relative here:

Classmates, family offer insight on Tammy and Sidney Moorer

Complete coverage of Heather Elvis and other missing persons cases:

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