Mistrial declared in Sidney Moorer trial

CONWAY, SC (WBTW) ‚Äď A hung jury has lead to a mistrial¬†in the Sidney Moorer kidnapping case. After reporting to the judge around 2:30 p.m. Friday that they could not come to a unanimous decision, the jury was asked to deliberate further.

After another hour of deliberation, jurors explained to the judge that they were unable to resolve the deadlock, and could not come to a decision as to whether Moorer kidnapped Heather Elvis. The judge declared a mistrial in the case just before 4 p.m. Friday and stated the case will now be retried with a new jury.

The judge then discharged the jury and said they are free to talk about the case.

Members of the jury in the Sidney Moorer trial entered the courtroom again Friday morning at 9 a.m. and deliberated until 2:30 p.m. until they informed the judge they are unable to make a decision as a group.

Juror members in the Sidney Moorer kidnapping case were dismissed Thursday night after deliberating for just more than two hours.

Judge Markley Dennis was handed a note from the jury around 7:15 p.m. Thursday asking if the members could be released and return the next morning to continue deciding the fate of Moorer, the man accused of kidnapping missing Myrtle Beach woman Heather Elvis.

Jury members returned Friday morning at 9 a.m. to continue deliberations.

Sidney Moorer was also allowed to leave with his family Thursday night. Moorer could be seen leaving the courthouse with his family just before 7:30 p.m.

Judge Dennis sent the jury out for deliberations after closing arguments just before 5 p.m. Thursday evening after hearing testimony all day Thursday.

Within the first hour of testimony, four witnesses were called by the prosecution. ¬†One witness,¬†Peter Cestare with Horry County Police, testified to taking pictures inside Sidney and Tammy Moorer’s house.¬†Cestare said he alerted detectives about the cameras inside the Moorer’s home, and expected for them to take it “to the next level” if they were deemed important.

He took 4 pictures outside Moorer’s residence, 19 inside the residence and 4 inside of a camper on property.¬†Cestare did admit he didn’t want Tammy Moorer to know he realized there was a camera inside of the residence.

Jacob Melton was the fifth witness of the day. He was a friend of Moorer’s son and says he spent time at the Moorer’s house.

The State asked Melton to point out where monitors for a camera system used to be inside the house.

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The next witness called was Brianna Warrelmann. She was a former roommate Heather Elvis

Warrelman became emotional during her testimony and told the court that Heather called her crying hysterically and told her that Sidney called her and claimed he left his wife and wanted to be with her.  Warrelman said Elvis also said that she had gone out with another guy and was supposed to see him (Steven) the next day.

Warrelman told defense attorney Kirk Truslow during cross examination that Tammy Moorer sent more than 90 threatening text messages and phone calls prior to her disappearance.  She also said Tammy Moorer sent Heather text images of she and Sidney having sex.

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Judge Markley Dennis became visibly angry when the State and defense argued whether or not to play previously recorded statements from Warrelman during police interviews.  Court was recessed so a transcript could be made of the statements in question.

The State rested its case just after 12:30 p.m. and the defense followed with a request for the judge to issue a directive verdict.

After a lengthy discussion, the judge denied the motion for a directive verdict and the jury will get to decide.

When court resumed after lunch, the defense did not call any witnesses and rested its case.  The judge told the jury that closing arguments could begin.

Closing arguments for the prosecution lasted well over an hour Thursday afternoon, as Assistant Solicitor Nancy Livesay linked together its case over the past four days. Livesay was very frank with jurors in pointing out that the case before them is a circumstantial case. Major pieces of witness testimony were linked together to form a “ripple effect” of events discussed in the prosecution’s opening statements.

Truslow, however, made it clear during closing statements for the defense that there is a fine line between circumstantial evidence and looking suspicious. While he said he could not prove that Moorer didn’t kidnap Elvis, it was up to the state to prove he did.

The defense was critical of police and the investigation during closing statements, again referencing pressure from the community on the case. Truslow asked the jury to pay close attention to text messages brought up in court and to consider who may have been behind them.

Truslow also suggested Thursday other people could’ve kidnapped Elvis – including Moorer’s wife, Tammy.

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