Year in Review: Tammy Moorer kidnapping trial captivates community for days
HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - It was a trial that captivated the community for 11 days, as the jury worked to decide if Tammy Moorer played a role in the kidnapping of Heather Elvis.
Now, more than five years after Elvis vanished, Moorer is serving 30 years for her kidnapping after the jury found her guilty of kidnapping in October.
It followed days of testimony from dozens of witnesses, experts and relatives. Moorer also took the stand in her own defense.
She and her husband, Sidney Moorer, were arrested for kidnapping and conspiracy to commit kidnapping back in February 2014.
In its trial against Tammy Moorer, the state called more than 30 witnesses to the stand in a span of seven days. Much of their testimony concentrated on surveillance video along Highway 814 and cellphone evidence to piece together communication between the Moorers' phone numbers and Elvis.’
A T-Mobile rep testified the records between Elvis’ and Sidney Moorer's phones spanned between July 2013 and Dec. 18, 2013.
The month Elvis disappeared, the witnesses said her phone made just six calls to Sidney Moorer's phone, including a four- to five-minute conversation the night she vanished. The defense argued that evidence didn't prove much.
Jurors also heard from Elvis’ former coworkers, two of whom said she talked about taking a pregnancy test the same month she vanished, but it ended in an error.
Also testifying for the state was a man who said he had a relationship with Tammy Moorer while adding their phone conversations ended in December 2013.
Tammy Moorer's mother-in-law testified that during a surprise Christmas visit in 2013, she told her she beat Sidney Moorer.
“She said she beat the hell out of him," Irene Moorer said from the stand.
Elvis’ roommate also talked about the last conversation she had with Heather in the early-morning hours of Dec. 18, 2013, the day she vanished.
She testified Elvis called her crying after receiving a call from Sidney Moorer. Her roommate told her not to do anything rash and that they would talk about it in the morning.
Still, the most memorable testimony from the trial was from the defendant herself. With her children sitting in the courtroom, Tammy Moorer maintained her innocence.
She cried as she explained she was unable to attend her father's funeral while she was behind bars. She also talked about when she learned of her husband’s affair with Elvis.
Tammy Moorer said she became suspicious in November 2013 when her husband hid his phone after receiving text messages one night.
First, he told her he was talking to a man named DJ. Tammy Moorer would soon find out it was Elvis after she called her on the phone.
"After I spoke with her, she was a nice girl. She told me everything that happened,” Moorer testified. “When Sidney came home, I asked him to confirm it to see what his side of the story was. Heather told me that her and Sidney were really good friends."
She went on to say she never met Elvis in person.
During cross examination, the mood in the courtroom changed as Moorer answered questions from the prosecution.
Solicitor Nancy Livesay asked Moorer questions about the texts she sent to her sister asking her to send a picture of Elvis when they got a drink at The Tilted Kilt, where Elvis worked.
She also asked Moorer about the sexually explicit texts she exchanged with a 19-year-old man during December 2013. After extensive testimony, the jury started deliberating Oct. 23. About four hours after starting the process, they reached a decision - Tammy Moorer was guilty of kidnapping and conspiracy to commit kidnapping.
The judge went on to sentence Moorer to 30 years behind bars.
Despite one conviction in the case, many questions remain as the community, the Elvis family and even those who defended Tammy Moorer long to know what happened to the 20-year-old woman in December 2013.
“We’re still missing our daughter. We’re still looking for her. It doesn’t give us any answers,” said Terry Elvis, Heather Elvis’ father.
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