HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — An attorney for a man twice-convicted in the 2013 disappearance of a woman in Horry County who has never been found asked a judge in Columbia for another new trial in the case.
Sidney Moorer was convicted of kidnapping, conspiracy to commit kidnapping, and obstruction of justice in the disappearance of Heather Elvis and is serving a 30-year sentence at Lee Correctional Institution in Bishopville. He was found guilty in a re-trial in 2019 on the kidnapping charge.
Elvis went missing in the early morning hours of Dec. 18, 2013, from Peachtree Boat Landing. She has never been found.
Moorer’s appellate attorney, Taylor Gilliam, asked for the case to be sent back to a lower court for a new trial in Georgetown County, claiming the jury pool in Horry County was contaminated by social media. More than 100 people in the jury pool said they didn’t know about the case, according to information in case.
Gilliam also wants the lower court to reconsider expert testimony from forensic video expert Grant Fredericks, who said during Moorer’s 2019 retrial that Moorer’s truck was seen in surveillance going toward Peachtree Road, not far from where Elvis’ car was found abandoned.
Gilliam argued that Fredericks was influenced by confirmation bias. Judges also questioned how his analysis was able to determine that it was a specific type of vehicle.
“That’s what we do with ballistics,” argued David A. Spencer, an attorney representing the state of South Carolina. “That’s how you have ballistic experts to testify. I can tell this gun fired this bullet and that’s accepted. “
Moorer’s attorney, however, argued that there was not enough evidence in the case — including if there was a sign of a struggle.
Moorer also has an appeal of his obstruction-of-justice conviction scheduled for 9:30 a.m. May 17 in the South Carolina Supreme Court Courtroom
In December 2020, Moorer asked for the state Supreme Court to overturn his obstruction of justice conviction that was previously denied in July 2020. In his appeal, he stated that him lying to investigators caused the investigators to do a more thorough investigation of the case than they would have if he told them the truth.
“By any measure, having the police conduct a very thorough investigation surrounding the disappearance of a young woman would not be the equivalent of hindering or impeding the investigation,” the appeal stated.
The appeal stated if Moorer told the truth, investigators wouldn’t have gone to the payphone the night of the incident because the conversation happened days after. The appeal also claimed the lead investigator admitted he would’ve investigated the case the same way, even if Moorer was never interviewed.
Moorer’s wife, Tammy, has also been sentenced to 30 years for kidnapping Elvis. Investigators think Elvis was in a relationship with Moorer, leading to motive for her disappearance.
A pregnancy test box was seen at Elvis’ apartment, but wasn’t collected into evidence, according to information presented in court. Judges wondered if it was the same brand as the one Moorer was seen buying hours before she went missing. The applicator was never found.
A decision may take months.