Defense begins its case after state rests in retrial of Sidney Moorer

The second week of testimony in Sidney Moorer's retrial gets underway Monday.
The second week of testimony in Sidney Moorer's retrial gets underway Monday.
Updated: Sep. 16, 2019 at 9:47 PM EDT
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CONWAY, S.C. (WMBF) – The prosecution has rested in the retrial of Sidney Moorer.

Shortly after 12 p.m. Monday, the state announced it had completed its case. The defense called its first witnesses after the lunch recess.

But before the state rested, prosecutors called Donald DeMarino, the cousin of Sidney Moorer’s wife Tammy Moorer, to the stand where he told jurors about a photo the defendant showed him in 2014.

DeMarino said that photo was of Heather Elvis, who Sidney Moorer is accused of kidnapping in 2013. When attorneys asked if the photo was upsetting, he answered yes.

The witness told jurors he saw the picture at a family cookout in 2014, when Sidney Moorer pulled him aside to show him. He added that no one else saw the photo or heard them talking.

The defense argued DeMarino told his mom he made this story about seeing the photo up. On Monday, he said he told her that because he didn’t want to get in trouble.

When prosecutors ask DeMarino about Elvis’ physical state when he saw her in the photo, he indicated she did not look like she was under own free will.

“Let me ask you this. After seeing that picture of Heather back in 2014, do you expect this family to ever hear from her again?” prosecutor Chris Helms asked DeMarino.

“No,” the witness replied.

Prosecution also brought the Moorers’ son’s childhood friend, Jacob Melton to the stand. He told jurors about the cameras and monitors he remembered being in the Moorers’ home.

Melton’s mother, Laura Garlitz was also called to the stand.

Garlitz told jurors she wasn’t close with the Moorers but remembered a time they had texted her son wanting to show him their new truck.

She said she recalled Tammy being bubbly, happy and what she said was a little drunk.

Garlitz said the Moorers weren’t at their home long and never mentioned to her that she was trying to get pregnant.

Prosecution also brought SLED special agent Jessica Adams to the stand, whose involvement in Elvis’ case is tracking her identification to see if it’s been used anywhere.

She said the last time she checked to see if Elvis had any uses was last Friday.

She told jurors when she checked there hasn’t been any new uses by anything like name, date of birth or social media anywhere in the United States.

The defense began their witness testimonies with forensic examiner, Bruce Koenig, who testified about the comparison of surveillance showing a truck passing through two locations that could head in the direction of Peachtree Landing to the reenactment using Sidney Moorer’s truck.

Koenig told jurors the reenactment Horry County police and Grant Fredericks, video forensic analysis, used had too many differences to be compared.

Prosecution asked Koenig if he examined the truck in person and he said he didn’t need to because he used Fredericks comparison to come to his conclusion.

In the first week of the trial, jurors heard from several witnesses, including former Horry County police officers who investigated the case.

One Horry County police officer testified about surveillance footage received from the Moorer’s home. In that footage it shows the Moorer’s cleaning their truck and burning the rags in a burn pile.

The defense brought Tammy Moorer’s sister, Ashley Caison, to the stand Monday.

They asked her about what she remembered from the day Sidney Moorer’s black Ford -150 was cleaned. She told jurors she had gifted him a cleaning kit for Christmas and wanted to give it early because she wanted to use it early.

Defense attorneys asked her if Tammy or Sidney Moorer asked for this gift and she said no.

Prosecutor Nancy Livesay replayed that surveillance footage for Caison and as they watched, Caison said the reason they were cleaning their vehicles together was because of death threats and people driving down their road.

Livesay asked Caison if she had seen one vehicle drive down the road in the surveillance they were watching.

“I haven’t been paying attention to the road, I’ve been looking at where you’re asking me about,” Caison said.

Livesay fired back.

“I can tell you I was [watching], there wasn’t.” Livesay said.

Tammy Moorer, was found guilty of kidnapping Elvis in October 2018 and sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Sidney Moorer previously went to trial for kidnapping in 2016, which ended with a hung jury.

His retrial is set to resume 10:30 a.m. Wednesday after the jury was dismissed early Monday afternoon.

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