Tammy Moorer trial set for October, may include Sidney in joint trial

Updated: Jul. 25, 2018 at 4:30 PM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Sidney and Tammy Moorer could be tried together as co-defendants for charges of kidnapping and conspiracy to commit kidnapping in connection to the disappearance of Heather Elvis.

The State has filed a joinder motion to try the Moorers together starting October 8, 2018 on all pending charges, to "maintain judicial economy, preserve the State's right to joinder and minimize the burden on the many out-of-Circuit witnesses needed to testify."

Time has been set aside by Circuit Court Judge Benjamin Culbertson specifically for Tammy Moorer's case starting that date, according to a court order filed at the end of June.

The Supreme Court of South Carolina has also gotten involved in the latest movement with Tammy Moorer's side of the case ordering that Judge Markley Dennis be unassigned as the exclusive jurisdiction to hear and dispose of the case.

"It now appears it is no longer necessary for this case to be assigned to a specific judge and further the case should be handled in the ordinary fashion currently in place in Horry County for General Sessions matters," the Supreme Court order stated.

The State says it plans to present the same evidence against both defendants, "including the fact the defendants were conspiring to commit the crime."

The State adds they are trying to lessen the burden on potential witnesses who live outside of the area and will have to travel to testify for the trial or trials.

"Judge Culbertson has made it clear to the State that it is his belief that the defendants cannot be tried together since the Supreme Court has not united jurisdiction under a single judge. Judge Dennis has not responded to either party on the issue of joinder. The defense has made no motion to sever as of today's date and the State has the right to join the parties at trial until the defense makes a successful severance motion," court documents said.

The court documents do not state where this proposed joint-trial would happen.

A judge declared a mistrial when a jury was unable to reach a kidnapping verdict against Sidney in 2016. Sidney's attorneys requested a change of venue for his retrial. An order signed by Judge Dennis stated it would be held in Georgetown County and a jury would be selected from Georgetown County, too.

The Moorers are accused of kidnapping Heather Elvis, who has been missing since December 2013.

Sidney is currently serving time for obstruction of justice in the case.

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