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Heather Elvis murder case: Moorers denied bond in pre-trial hearing

Tammy and Sidney Moorer, seen here in mugshots taken after their February arrest, were subsequently charged with the kidnapping and murder of 20-year-old Heather Elvis.
Tammy and Sidney Moorer, seen here in mugshots taken after their February arrest, were subsequently charged with the kidnapping and murder of 20-year-old Heather Elvis.
Horry County Sheriff's Office

Sidney and Tammy Moorer, the couple accused of kidnapping and murdering 20-year-old Heather Elvis back in December, went before Horry County Judge Steven John Monday in a hearing that lasted nearly two hours and ended with both being denied bond.

In a packed courtroom in Conway, S. C., WMBF News reported March 17, the judge listened as the prosecution listed the charges against the Moorers and presented its case for murder while lawyers for the married pair attempted to cast doubt on the evidence and secure bonds for their clients. Solicitor Jimmy Richardson offered a timeline of events leading up to the disappearance of Heather Elvis on Dec. 18. Evidence included video footage and phone records from the night Elvis vanished. According to prosecutors, they have evidence Heather Elvis went to Peachtree Landing, the spot in Socastee where her abandoned vehicle was discovered on Dec. 19, the night she went missing. They said they also had evidence a truck from the Moorer home also went to Peachtree Landing that same morning.

Prosecutors believe that Sidney Moorer was the last person to speak with Heather Elvis on her phone. The two had had a prior relationship, one which had supposedly been discontinued at some point. However, testimony includes, according to WBTW, a statement from a witness that says Moorer called Elvis just hours before she went missing and told her he had left his wife.

Text messages were entered into evidence showing that Tammy Moorer had threatened Elvis because of her relationship with Sidney Moorer.

Kirk Truslow, Sidney Moorer's attorney, asked the judge for a reasonable bond, noting that his client had a clean record prior to his arrest in February. He argued that Moorer should be granted bond because of his community ties and his family. He said the prosecution's was "an extremely circumstantial case at best" containing "incredible speculation and rumor."

Greg McCollum, Tammy Moorer's lawyer, also argued that his client had a clean record prior to her arrest.

Judge John, after hearing from the prosecution that the Moorers might be flight risks due to talk of buying land in Florida and perhaps moving to Belize or running to Canada, refused to allow the Moorers to post bond. Prosecution had also noted that releasing the Moorers might place them at risk from the community.

In his decision, according to WBTW, Judge John said he did so due to the seriousness of the charges, the nature of the case and the potential penalty faced by the defendants. He said he was also concerned with the potential of violence from supporters of the two families involved in the case, whether it be caused by the defendants' or victim's side.

The judge did, however, state that further evidence could prompt reconsideration.

People attempting to get into the courthouse were subjected to an intense security screening Monday. The high profile case not only has garnered national attention (not to mention being featured on HLN's "Nancy Grace"), it has ignited strong feelings in the Horry County community, some displayed via social media and others through more traditional methods.

To corroborate the prosecution's position that the Moorer's might be in harm's way should they be granted bond, Horry County Police Chief Saundra Rhodes said the Moorers called police 39 times after receiving multiple threats on social media. She added that police have spent hundreds of hours on the case and immeasurable resources investigating it.

Terry Elvis, Heather's father, pleaded with Judge John to help protect his family, especially his teen daughter, by keeping the Moorers behind bars. The Elvis family has also been the recipient of threats and warnings, including one incident in February where two men yelled at Terry Elvis outside his sign shop in Myrtle Beach that Morgan, Heather's younger sister, was next.

Heather Elvis remains missing. Although a body has yet to be found and could prove somewhat problematic for the prosecution, Horry County authorities felt they had gained enough information from area surveillance camera videotapes (near where Elvis' vehicle was found) to get a search warrant for the Moorers Socastee home back in February. Sidney and Tammy Moorer were arrested that same day on obstruction of justice and indecent exposure charges, then were held in jail pending developments from the search. Over the next three days, they were charged with the kidnapping and the murder of Heather Elvis.