CONWAY, SC (WMBF) – Two days after announcing her intention to testify, Tammy Moorer took the stand in her own defense late Friday morning.
The defendant, charged in connection with the 2013 disappearance of Heather Elvis, cried while testifying when she recalled being unable to attend her father’s funeral and had to leave a note with him. She said she was in chains and her hands were tied behind her back while doing this.
When asked if she was married, Moorer said she was and that her husband’s name is Sidney. She also pointed out her kids who were in the courtroom.
Moorer appeared visibly emotional. She cried at the beginning of her testimony when she talked about how she wasn’t able to attend her father’s funeral while she was incarcerated. She said the sheriff’s office brought her and Sidney at different times to say goodbye, where she said she left a note with him.
She also talked about the trip she made to California in November of 2013 when her children and Sidney were gone for almost a month. She said when she learned about the affair Sidney had with Heather Elvis, she was hesitant to take the trip, but did anyway.
She also said she had been trying to get pregnant since November when they took that trip.
Moorer also talked about why she and Sidney moved to Florida. She said after they were named persons of interest in the Heather Elvis disappearance case and released from jail, Sidney was unable to find work. That’s when they moved to Florida and he began to work again.
But before they moved, Tammy said they had kind encounters with people in the community. She made sure she made that clear to the jury. The defendant said there were times they would eat at restaurants for free and people would show up with groceries at their home because they were unable to work. She testified those supporters are afraid to show up in court.
It wasn’t long before defense attorney Greg McCollum asked Moorer when she learned about the affair. Tammy said it wasn’t until Halloween, early November that she found out. She said Sidney first told her it was a man he was talking to, but it wasn’t until Tammy and Heather talked on the phone, and Tammy told the jury she was a nice girl.
“I didn’t go about it the right way and I’m sorry about that," said Tammy. “It looks bad, but I just wanted to know who it was, that’s all. After I spoke with her she was a nice girl. She told me everything that had happened. And when Sidney came home I asked for him to confirm it to see what his side of the story was," she said.
“After you spoke to her did you impression of her soften?” asked McCollum. "Yes.” said Tammy.
She also talked about the first time police came to her house. She said when she called 9-11 because her family got a threatening text from Terry Elvis, the operator told her the police were already there.
McCollum also asked his client about the cleaning supplies and cement mix in front of the camper outside her house. Moorer said the cleaning supplies was used to clean the camper because you can clearly see it was dirty. She said the cement was never used to hide a body.
Moorer also talked about the tattoo on Sidney’s abdomen. She said she took the pictures of it being done in January of 2012 and she said Sidney was the one who wanted to get it. Tammy said she didn’t make him get the tattoo.
It was soon after that McCollum transitioned asking her questions about the night of Dec. 17 and early morning of Dec. 18. "Did you ever go to Peachtree landing on the end of Peachtree Road on December 17, 2013? asked McCollum.
“I never have. I never did that," said Moorer.
She also said she didn’t go to Peachtree Landing between midnight and noon on Dec. 18, 2013. Moorer told the jury she was home with Sidney that morning. Ashley Caison previously took the stand and said she watched the Moorer’s children until Tammy and Sidney got home and then the children were sent back over to their house.
Moorer said she tried to help in any way she could in the investigation the second she was contacted by the police. She said if it was her child she would want them to be looked for rather than wasting time on someone who didn’t do anything.
Moorer seemed to carry a calm and soft spoken demeanor on the stand throughout the defenses direct examination.
When the state took the floor to begin their direct examination, the atmosphere in the courtroom seemed to change and become more tense.
Solicitor Nancy Livesay started by asking Tammy about her conversation between her and Heather Elvis the night she found out about the affair. Moorer insisted that after a certain point in the conversation, she was no longer texting Heather and it was Sidney.
She also talked about the sexually explicit text messages Tammy Moorer exchanged with a younger man in 2013.
“It looks bad and like I said you dont know the whole story. That’s putting my character down. Which I could sit here and tell you while I was at J. Reuben Long I became a reborn Christian.. I became a completely different person than I am now. I could sit here and wonder how many married men you’ve slept with but I’m not gonna judge you on that because it doesn’t mean you killed somebody. It doesn’t mean you kidnapped somebody," said Moorer.
"I was texting a man sexual messages while I was with Sidney making love to my husband. I would come out and text another man. I made mistakes we all made mistakes.”
The state was in the middle of it’s cross examination of Moorer when the judge recessed for the weekend. Court will resume Monday morning at 9:30.
Before Moorer took the stand, a records director from a Loris hospital testified that a March 25, 2014 record showed the defendant had a positive pregnancy test.
The jury also heard from a records director from Conway Medical Center. During Moorer’s testimony, she said staff at the J. Reuben Long Detention Center didn’t believe she was pregnant, so she was taken to the medical center three days later.
Conway Medical Center records for Tammy Moorer on March 28, 2014 indicate a positive pregnancy test as well. The records director testified that on that date, Moorer was six weeks and six days pregnant.
Before she took the stand, several other witnesses for the defense testified. Several noted they knew Elvis, with one saying he thought he saw her at a bar after she disappeared.
First to take the stand, though, was Sydney Moffitt, who said she briefly worked with Elvis and even moved in with her for a little while.
Timothy Tindall took the stand and said he met Elvis through Moffitt and they hung out sometimes. He told the state on cross examination he didn’t have anything to do with her disappearance.
Thursday’s proceedings were rough for the defense team. Five of their witnesses were not allowed to testify because they allegedly violated their sequestration order.
The state said Tammy Moorer's son, two of his siblings, the defendant’s mother and another witness were in a holding room and were under a sequester order.
A bailiff testified the group was watching a live stream of the trial even though they were sequestered.
Reporter Marissa Tansino will be live tweeting inside the courtroom. Follow along with those tweets here.