First witnesses testify they believed Heather Elvis was pregnant

Updated: Jun. 21, 2016 at 11:51 AM EDT
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Prosecution attorney Martin Spratlin (Source: WMBF News)
Prosecution attorney Martin Spratlin (Source: WMBF News)
Witness Jessica Cooke testifies in the Moorer trial. She was Heather Elvis' direct supervisor...
Witness Jessica Cooke testifies in the Moorer trial. She was Heather Elvis' direct supervisor at the Tilted Kilt (Source: WMBF News)
Another witness, Elvis' co-worker and friend Jody Davenport, testifies in the Moorer trial....
Another witness, Elvis' co-worker and friend Jody Davenport, testifies in the Moorer trial. (Source: WMBF News)
Third witness Megan Bonfert takes the stand. (Source: WMBF News)
Third witness Megan Bonfert takes the stand. (Source: WMBF News)

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) – Witness testimony began around 4 p.m., Monday in the Sidney Moorer trial, with both saying they believed Heather Elvis was pregnant.

The two witnesses, Jessica Cooke and Jody Davenport, testified they worked with Elvis at the former Tilted Kilt location at Broadway at the Beach in Myrtle Beach.

From there, they talked about a relationship that began between Elvis and Moorer, who also worked at the Titled Kilt as a maintenance employee.

During the relationship, the witnesses said Moorer would come in to the restaurant to see Elvis and bring her coffee and bagels.

The witnesses testified the relationship ended in October 2013.

Cooke, who said she was Elvis' supervisor, testified she noticed Elvis was gaining weight, which led to Elvis eventually taking a pregnancy test. That test, the witness added, came up as an error.

The jury was excused for a short recess just before 5 p.m., before testimony resumed. A third Titled Kilt employee, Megan Bonfert, reiterated a lot of the testimony as the previous witnesses. She also discussed Elvis arriving to work with bruises at some point after the relationship with Moorer ended.

After almost five hours of shrinking hundreds of potential jurors down, a jury panel of 12 and two alternates was seated before 2 p.m. Monday on the first day of the trial.

The panel is comprised of 10 men and four women. Judge Markley Dennis told the jurors not to research any details about the case as long as they were served on the jury. He then told them to break for lunch and be back at 3:30 p.m.

One of the jurors is a friend of Moorer's attorney, Kirk Truslow. While the state requested that he be dismissed, the judge said no, because the man said his relationship would not compromise his decisions.

During opening statements, Martin Spratlin with the solicitor's office said the heart of the case was the affair between Elvis and Moorer, which ended after the defendant's wife, Tammy Moorer, found out.

According to the prosecution, Elvis went on a date and was dropped off around 1:30 a.m. on Dec. 18, 2013. Five minutes later, she got a call from a payphone off Seaboard Street in Myrtle Beach that lasted four minutes. The call was allegedly made by Sidney Moorer.

A second call, Spratlin told the jurors, was placed by Elvis to the Sidney Moorer's cellphone. It was after that call, the prosecution alleged, that the two met at the Peachtree Boat Landing in the Socastee area and Elvis has not been seen or heard from since.

In his opening statement, Kirk Truslow, Sidney Moorer's attorney, said the defense has an answer for everything because the defendant did not commit the crime he is accused of.

The defense attorney said Moorer has been, "put in a position to fight for his life." He added police did enough in the case to get it off of their plate and made an arrest to solve a case, instead of solving a case and making an arrest.

Truslow asked the jury to keep an open mind while the testimony continued.

The opening statements were preceded by the nearly five-hour-long jury selection process.

When the process first began, there was not an empty seat in courtroom 3B of the Horry County Government and Justice Center.

The potential jurors were asked questions by the court clerk during the roll call, such as how far they had to travel to get to the justice center, their occupation, whether or not they are married and their spouse's occupation if they are married.

A large number of the potential jurors told the clerk their marital status was either single, separated or divorced.

Their occupations ran the gamut from administrative assistant to librarian, and restaurant manager to human resources director.

A number also said they were retired.

There were a few moments of levity during the nearly 50-minute roll call. One potential juror drew a laugh when he announced he was, "happily divorced."

Another said he was a minister and asked the crowd if they loved Jesus Christ, which evoked a few to say, "Amen."

The process was set to continue following a 20-minute break.

Eight hundred jury summons and and questionnaires were sent out May 2, and were all due back to the court by June 2. This was in an effort to get an unbiased jury – something critical to both sides for such a well-known case.

Last Friday was the deadline for the attorneys to provide their witness lists to the court. One of the witnesses, a video analysis expert, was being questioned at one point as to whether or not his testimony is admissible.

Dennis, a circuit court judge from Charleston, is presiding over the trial. This whole trial could potentially last five days or more.

Sidney also faces obstruction of justice charges related to this case, but he will not be on trial for that charge this week. During a pre-trial hearing last Monday, Moorer's attorney argued to try the charges separately, saying it's because the two cases are separate and distinct. Sidney's attorney argued the two charges were not properly joined by the prosecution.

On the other side, the prosecution argued Moorer committed obstruction of justice in order to elude detection for the kidnapping charge.

The next day, the judge granted the motion to separate the charges and trials.

A date for the trial on obstruction of justice charges is not set.

Sidney Moorer and his wife, Tammy Moorer were both originally charged with murdering Heather Elvis. But those charges were dropped in March.

Tammy Moorer is also charged with kidnapping. A trial date for Tammy Moorer has not yet been set.

The Moorers were arrested in February 2014 in connection with the disappearance of Horry County woman Heather Elvis, who was 20 years old when she went missing in December 2013.

Related Stories:

Judge approves motion to try Sidney Moorer's charges separately, attorney says

Moorer's lawyer asks for charges to be tried separately at pre-trial hearing

Sidney Moorer motions reveal some state evidence in trial, seek to quash indictment

Timeline of events in the Heather Elvis case

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