S.C. Supreme Court hears arguments in Sidney Moorer’s obstruction of justice case
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WMBF) – A high-profile disappearance case in Horry County made it to South Carolina’s highest court on Tuesday morning.
The South Carolina Supreme Court heard arguments in Sidney Moorer’s obstruction of justice case, which he was convicted of in September 2017 in Heather Elvis’ disappearance. He was also convicted of kidnapping in September 2019.
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The two had been in a relationship that ended weeks before Elvis’ disappearance on Dec. 18, 2013, but cellphone records show the pair had still been in touch.
Moorer was found guilty of obstruction of justice when police said he lied about using a payphone to call Elvis on the day she disappeared.
Moorer and his attorneys filed an appeal with the S.C. Court of Appeals, stating that the trial judge erred in denying Moorer’s direct verdict motion. In making a motion for a directed verdict, the defense attorneys argue that the prosecution has failed to prove its case. But the Court of Appeals upheld the jury’s guilty verdict.
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Moorer’s defense team submitted a petition for the S.C. Supreme Court to review the Court of Appeals decision and on Tuesday the justices heard arguments from Moorer’s attorney, Susan Hackett and the state’s attorney, Senior Assistant Attorney General Mark Farthing.
Hackett argued that despite Moorer’s lie about the payphone, it didn’t have an impact on the investigation or the search for Elvis.
“His statement, omissions and misrepresentations, anything you want to call them never prevented or hindered law enforcement’s investigation,” Hackett said. “They could have searched for a body. They knew she was missing.”
She added that none of the officers could say in any way how the lie could have impacted the investigation they were conducting and that Moorer ended up telling the truth about the payphone call.
But Farthing stated that Moorer only corrected it after he realized he had been caught in the lie and that there was something extra chilling about his lie.
“At that point in time, I think he’s telling that lie because he knows Heather Elvis isn’t going to be around to say that she was on that call and Sidney Moorer was the one that was calling her,” said Farthing.
He added that Moorer’s lie hindered the investigation where every second mattered in a missing person case.
“The officers explained when he lies to us in this investigation, every second matters, it’s a missing girl, every single second matters and when he lies about something as important about who initiated contact with her that night, they said, we have to go back and check every single, little thing that he said to us and pick it all apart,” Farthing explained.
Justice John Few also brought up an officer’s testimony during the trial that said if he had known Moorer had been on the phone with Elvis on the day she disappeared then the case would have gone from a general missing person case to a suspicious person investigation.
In the end, Hacket asked for an acquittal on the obstruction of justice charge, stating that the state didn’t provide enough evidence that a crime had occurred.
No word on when the S.C. Supreme Court will make a ruling on this case.
Moorer is currently serving a 30-year sentence, and is also appealing his kidnapping charge.
Elvis’ body has never been found.
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