Day 4: Jury heads home after beginning deliberations Thursday evening
CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - The jury in the Sidney Moorer kidnapping trial requested at about 7:20 p.m. that they be allowed to go home and resume deliberations on Friday.
"Thank you on behalf of everyone involved for your conscientious approach to this," Judge Markley Dennis told the jury.
Judge Dennis granted the request, and will not sequester them, but stressed how important it is that they not read or watch any media accounts of the trial.
"You cannot because if you do, it really is at the point now that it has to be redone," he said.
The jury will resume deliberations at 9 a.m. Friday morning.
Following an emotional morning of testimony from Heather Elvis' former roommate and closing arguments from both sides, the jury went into deliberations at about 4:50 p.m. Thursday.
The state's closing argument lasted for about one hour, and defense attorney Kirk Truslow spoke for about the same amount of time before the jury was sent to deliberate.
After the state rested its case at about 12:30 p.m. Thursday, Truslow, requested that the judge render a directive verdict in the trial of Moorer, accused with kidnapping missing Heather Elvis.
It was the defense's argument that the evidence presented showed an affair between the defendant and Elvis, but there was not enough substantial circumstantial evidence that the Ford F-150 belonging to Moorer was ever at Peachtree Boat Landing, that he was driving it or that Elvis ever got into it.
"The evidence is lacking to go forward to a jury," Truslow said.
After weighing the defense's arguments, and the evidence and testimony presented by the state, Judge Markley Dennis denied Truslow's request and ruled that the jury trial would move forward with the defense's case.
In answering the defense's motion, Dennis said the are many scenarios as to what could have happened the night Elvis disappeared.
The judge added that it's inconsistent for a young lady who was excited about her life to suddenly, "just vanish from the face of the earth."
"That's not logical and reasonable," Dennis said.
Court is in recess and will resume at 2 p.m.
Before the judge's ruling, the jury heard from the state's final witness, Elvis' former roommate.
Brianna Warrelmann testified she and Elvis were friends and coworkers at the former Tilted Kilt location at Broadway at the Beach. She added the two became roommates after Thanksgiving in 2013.
As other witnesses earlier in the week had said, Warrelmann talked about a relationship between Moorer and Elvis that she described as more than friends, and one that eventually became sexual in nature before it eventually ended in October 2013.
During questioning by solicitor Nancy Livesay, Warrelmann became emotional when she was asked to recount the last phone call she had with Elvis, which took place at 1:44 a.m., on Dec. 18, 2013.
Warrelmann testified that Elvis called her crying, and the witness asked her what was wrong.
Elvis said Sidney Moorer called saying he left his wife and he missed her and wanted to be with her, according to the testimony.
"I got angry and I said, 'Don't do it. You're finally moving on with your life. You're happy again,'" Warrelmann said when discussing the conversation between her and Elvis.
According to the witness, she changed the subject and asked Elvis about a date she had gone on earlier that evening with a man named Stephen Schiraldi, who testified for the prosecution earlier in the week.
Warrelmann described Elvis as becoming very happy when talking about the date, including being taught how to drive a stick-shift vehicle while in an empty mall parking lot.
According to the witness, when she asked Elvis if she was going to see Moorer again, Elvis said she was going to sleep and would think about it.
During cross examination by the defense, Warrelmann said she was aware Elvis had slept in her car for a period of time the previous summer.
The witness also described Elvis as being the rebellious child in her family and had been thrown out of her house on a few occasions.
There was also discussions while Warrelmann was on the witness stand about a former boyfriend of Elvis' who was described by the witness as physically, verbally and emotionally abusive.
The Sidney Moorer kidnapping trial moved into its fourth day of testimony on Thursday.
Moorer is charged in connection with the December 2013 disappearance of Heather Elvis. The trial began Monday with jury selection.
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 her has not yet been set.
The Moorers were arrested in February 2014 in connection with the disappearance of Elvis, who was 20 years old when she went missing in December 2013.
Stay with WMBF News on air and online for complete coverage of the trial.
LIVE BLOG: The Sidney Moorer Trial
Day 1: First witnesses testify they believed Heather Elvis was pregnant
Day 2: SLED witness: Video surveillance, receipt shows Sidney Moorer bought pregnancy test
Day 3: Day three of Sidney Moorer trial ends with testimony about texts between defendant's, Elvis' phones
Day 4: State rests case, judge denies defense's request for directive verdict
See a timeline, stories, and videos on our Heather Elvis page here.
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