**If you are unfamiliar with this case, please check out the first post on Heather Elvis which provides a detailed summary of her disappearance.
New Evidence Presented
The kidnapping charge, in connection with the December 18, 2013 disappearance of Heather Elvis, against Sidney Moorer resulted in a deadlocked jury only a few weeks ago on Friday, June 24, 2016. The hearing took place on Monday, June 20th through Friday, June 24th, and was ultimately declared a mistrial.
Though the kidnapping charge will most likely be retried at a future date, some new details surrounding Heather’s disappearance were presented in the short trial last week. The most interesting revelations consisted of the following:
During the first day of trial, it was confirmed by several co-workers that Heather had gained weight and attempted to take a pregnancy test at work (which resulted in error). The prosecution also presented video surveillance of Sidney Moorer, parking in a handicap parking space, going inside a WalMart on Seaboard Street at 1:12 am, and then purchasing a pregnancy test at 1:19 am on the morning that Heather disappeared.
Sidney seemingly defied the gag order on Tuesday, June 21st, just after the second day of the trial had concluded, by speaking to reporters about the pregnancy test. He said that Tammy Moorer was in the vehicle while he went inside, and that “he’s never bought a pregnancy test for anyone but his wife.”
Confirmed Pay Phone Call
It was also confirmed that Sidney used a pay phone at a Kangaroo gas station on the corner of Seaboard Street and Mr. Joe White Avenue to call Heather at 1:35 am the morning of her disappearance. This was just 16 minutes after purchasing the pregnancy test. Sidney’s defense attorney mentioned on Monday and Tuesday that Sidney did call Heather from the pay phone, an admission that had not been confirmed publicly before, but reiterated that it was “to ask [Heather] to stop leaving notes on his car.”
On the third day of the trial, the jurors visited the locations of the surveillance cameras that captured the black F-150 speeding towards and from the direction of Peachtree Landing.
Heather’s Phone GPS
Aaron Edens, an intelligence analyst from California, also gave testimony regarding the location of Heather Elvis’s phone on the night she went missing. Adding new details to the timeline, the analyst testified to the following:
- The phone was at Heather Elvis’s residence after she was dropped off by her date.
- At around 2:42 am-2:56 am, Heather’s phone is at Longbeard’s Bar and Grill in the Carolina Forest area.
- At 2:57 am, Heather’s phone leaves the restaurant and heads to Augusta Plantation Drive. It then turns around.
- At 3:01 am, Heather’s phone returns to Longbeard’s restaurant.
- From 3:02-3:15 am, Heather’s phone remains at Longbeard’s restaurant.
- From 3:16-3:19 am, Heather leaves the restaurant and heads back to her apartment.
- At 3:17 am, Heather speaks to someone on Sidney Moorer’s cell phone for over four minutes.
- Heather’s phone remains at her residence from 3:19-3:24 am.
- From 3:25-3:37 am, Heather’s phone moves from her residence to Peachtree Boat Landing.
- At 3:42 am, the last location of Heather’s phone, Peachtree Landing, is recorded and there is no more data from phone.
A full timeline of Heather’s disappearance, with the above information now integrated into it, can be found here.
This has left the public questioning why Heather went to Longbeard’s that night, and why the Moorer defense hasn’t capitalized on this movement as being hard evidence of some unknown party’s involvement. The restaurant is located in the opposite direction of the Moorer residence, and would have been closed at the time that Heather visited it.
It is interesting to note that Heather called the pay phone back nine times that night before and while she was in the closed restaurant parking lot. But after leaving Longbeard’s restaurant the second time at 3:16 am, she called Sidney Moorer’s cell phone directly, for the first time that night, and had a conversation with someone.
These movements have fueled speculation that, perhaps whatever happened to Heather that night, took place in the Longbeard’s Bar and Grill parking lot, and by the time of the direct call to Sidney Moorer’s cell phone, Heather was no longer in control of her phone.
Some of the locations referenced frequently in this case are illustrated on the map below. Please note that all of the locations are approximated and based on media reports.
The Seaboard Walmart and pay phone seem to be very close to Heather’s residence, but Longbeard’s restaurant is in the opposite direction from the Moorer residence and Peachtree Boat Landing. Why would Heather go up there that late at night, and then spend around thirty minutes in the parking lot? Why did she, at one point, leave and then turn around and go back?
The Defense Attorney’s Friend
In an odd turn of events, one of the jurors identified himself as a friend of Sidney Moorer’s defense attorney, Kirk Truslow, during the jury qualification. The state, understandably, asked that this juror be dismissed. However, Judge R. Markley Dennis refused this request, because “because the man said his relationship would not compromise his decisions.” Sidney’s attorney described this juror as “being between an acquaintance and friend and said… the juror would be impartial.”
The jury ultimately became deadlocked with ten jurors believing in Sidney Moorer’s guilt and two believing him to be not guilty. This led many people to question whether the judge had been truly impartial in not removing the defense attorney’s friend. Other members of the jury have now publicly stated that “it was a misstep to allow the juror who said he was a friend of Truslow’s to serve on the jury.”
Heather Elvis’s family has been vocally requesting that Circuit Court Judge R. Markley Dennis be removed from the trial(s) for quite some time. They allege that the judge was a schoolmate of Sidney Moorer’s father. Heather’s family also claims that the travel to Charleston is a “hardship” on their business, and that the denial of their speaking at the last bond modification hearing was a violation of their constitutional rights. They are currently promoting an online petition to remove the judge which, at the time of this article, has obtained 3,529 signatures in the past seven months.
Was Tammy Thrown Under The
Bus Ford F-150?
Another interesting development was the willingness of Sidney Moorer’s defense attorney, Kirk Truslow, to place blame and suspicion on Tammy Moorer. He reiterated throughout the trial that Tammy was the one who sent all of the nasty texts to Heather. Truslow also seemed to directly accuse Tammy of being in the state of mind to abduct Heather, emphasizing that Sidney was nothing but kind to Heather.
The following is an edited portion of Kirk Truslow’s closing statement, which can be viewed here, and starts around 50 minutes into the video:
But if you believe that that was Sidney’s truck, ask yourself who was driving that truck. If you believe that was the same F-150, ask yourself who was driving it.Who has motive to want to do something like this?Is it the person who has not shown any type of aggressive behavior, or mean behavior to anybody, including Heather Elvis, other than bringing her Starbucks coffee and calling her saying ‘I still want to be with you’?Or is it the person that the first three witnesses, and Bri Warrelmann, and other people testified, [that] even after [the affair] was found out and stopped, continued to harass, and threaten, and would not let it go with Heather Elvis, even to the point of sending pornographic photos of her and her husband to Heather Elvis.That shows you a state of mind. That shows you something in your mind that will not go away. And those kinds of things feed on themselves. And that anger feeds on itself. And it doesn’t go away.…If Tammy Moorer wants to drive the F-150, Tammy Moorer is driving the F-150. See, this case is about common sense.
…And I’m sure that my client doesn’t like every single thing that I’m saying, but I have to go where the facts lead me.
Historically, the defense attorney in a trial can make unfounded claims in the closing argument. However, if 10 out of 12 jurors were able to find Sidney guilty of kidnapping beyond a reasonable doubt, then making Tammy appear even more guilty than Sidney, before her own trial, was an interesting course of action.
Truslow also seemed to admit to many previously denied claims, such as Sidney saying he still wanted to be with Heather; however, he may have been attempting to demonstrate, that even if one believed those theories, they do not make Sidney a kidnapper. The defense’s closing statement was a stark contrast to the Moorer family’s previous insistence that their truck didn’t leave the yard that night, as Truslow essentially focused his argument on asserting that if the truck had left that night, it was Tammy driving it.
Regardless, this closing statement seems to be the first instance of any recognition by ‘the Moorer camp’ that, though the kidnapping case is circumstantial, it is extremely difficult to dismiss the overwhelming abundance of ancillary evidence and testimony which all lead back to the probable guilt of the same people: Sidney and/or Tammy Moorer.