CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – On Wednesday, Judge R. Markley Dennis ordered the kidnapping trial against Sidney Moorer be moved to Georgetown.
Court documents show the trial was moved because the court wasn’t confident it could get another fair trial in Horry County. You can read more about those documents here.
“I think Georgetown will be a much better venue for the defense in this case,” said local Criminal Defense Attorney, Stuart Axelrod. “Maybe they’ll be able to find a fair and impartial jury.”
Axelroad said while Georgetown is convenient, he predicts most people in the county already know about this case. He added finding fair and impartial jurors may still be tough.
“It’s going to be very difficult,” he said, “Everybody from here to Georgia to North Carolina knows about the Heather Elvis case.”
Axelrod said he believes the defense made a mistake in not having an expert witness after the prosecution brought an expert to discuss vehicle headlight spread analysis.
“When the new trial occurs I think if the defense brings an expert it’s going to negate that because I think the jury in this case weighed heavily on the expert’s testimony,” said Axelrod.
He said one new strategy that could be used in this new trial is heavier questioning of potential jurors.
“Our voir dire (in South Carolina), which is where the defense and the state can ask jurors questions, is very limited,” said Axelrod. “Hopefully the judge will allow to expand the voir dire.” Expanding it would allow the state and defense to ask more questions to determine if those potential jurors truly are fair and impartial.
However, Axelrod says because of extensive media coverage, it will be difficult to find those jurors.
“If you’ve heard of it in the news or you’ve read about it in the paper, chances are you’ve made a decision already and that’s hard to overcome,” he added.
A date has not yet been set for the Georgetown trial.