Sidney Moorer's retrial scheduled to begin Aug. 29 - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Sidney Moorer's retrial scheduled to begin Aug. 29

Sidney Moorer at his first trial in June. (Source: WMBF News) Sidney Moorer at his first trial in June. (Source: WMBF News)
Steven Schiraldi, the last person to see Heather Elvis, testifies during Moorer's trial. (Source: WMBF News) Steven Schiraldi, the last person to see Heather Elvis, testifies during Moorer's trial. (Source: WMBF News)

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – Sidney Moorer’s retrial for the alleged kidnapping of Heather Elvis is now scheduled to take place on August 29, according to court documents filed Tuesday.

On Friday, July 15, 800 summons and questionnaires were mailed out to find prospective jurors for the retrial, according to a scheduling order filed Tuesday. These questionnaires will be sent back by August 15. Final hearing dates on August 19 will address any pre-trial matters that need to be resolved. Attorneys need to provide a witness list to the court by August 26.

On Monday, August 29, the jury panel will arrive at the Horry County Justice Center in Conway for the jury selection process.

According to the affidavit filed July 13, Steven Schiraldi was asked to be in court during the period of Aug. 29 through Sept. 9. Schiraldi previously testified in a June trial regarding the kidnapping charge against Moorer, who is accused in connection with the December 2013 disappearance of Heather Elvis.

Twelve jurors could not reach a unanimous verdict in Moorer’s case during his trial in June, leading to a hung jury and, ultimately, a mistrial on June 24.

One attorney WMBF News talked to for perspective on this case said this time around, it may be even more of a challenge to find a jury that can be fair and unbiased

"In the justice system, it's really important that the only thing that jurors hear is what happens in the courtroom," Erin Bailey said. "Because there's been so much evidence, so many interviews, so much happening outside of court, it's going to be really tough for either side to get a fair trial given how much the average person knows."

The potential jurors can only be asked basic questions to qualify, such as where they live, their job and if they are married or not. However, they will also be asked what they know about the case.

"We all say in South Carolina, 'You don't get to pick the jury you want. You get to exclude the jurors you don't want,'" Bailey said. "If a juror says, 'I know a little bit about this case but I can set this aside and be fair and impartial,'  then a judge most times is going to take them at their word and go ahead and seat them."

But there are concerns about the high profile nature of this case and the attention it received during June's trial.

"What will probably happen is that they attempt to select the jury this time and based on the number of jurors that indicate that they know something about the case or the number of jurors that know people related to the case, then either the defense or the state makes a motion that venue should be changed to a different county or that they should select jurors from a different county and bring them into Horry County," Bailey said.

Bailey expects that the state's case and presentation against Moorer will be very similar to what was seen in June. However, the defense will have an advantage this time around.

"If any witnesses make statements that are even slightly different than what they made in the first trial, the defense is going to have a transcript they can show those witnesses and then try to show the jury that those witnesses are being inconsistent or show that they are lying," Bailey said.

The defense had no witnesses come forward in June and Moorer did not take the stand, but that could all change in August.

In the end though, Bailey said the new trial is about closure for all parties involved.

"For the judge, the state and defense, all want this case resolved, no matter which way it's resolved," she said. "They all want it resolved." 

Related stories:

Witness who testified in Sidney Moorer trial requested back in court starting Aug. 29

Hung jury, mistrial declared in Sidney Moorer trial

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