Trial set for obstruction of justice in Heather Elvis disappearance

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Sidney Moorer is scheduled to go to trial for an obstruction of justice charge on August 28 in Horry County, according to court documents.

News13 spoke to local attorney, Thomas Brittain, who explained an obstruction of justice charge.

“It’s a very serious charge,” he said. “This is when a person intentionally, has to be on purpose, has something to do, says something that hinders or obstructs the normal process of justice.”

Brittain said the prosecution has to prove Moorer intended to obstruct justice.

Documents filed Friday, July 21, aim to suppress evidence of other crimes and also suppress two videotaped statements made by Moorer to police officers in the upcoming obstruction of justice trial.

According to the motion to suppress evidence of other crimes, wrongs or acts asks the court to not use testimony, exhibits, or evidence that relate to the murder warrant that was dismissed or the kidnapping warrant still pending- retrial.

“This has been a highly publicized case,” the document states. “If such evidence was introduced, the jury could make the mistake of deciding the case on an improper bias, such as an emotional bias.”

A motion to quash the obstruction of justice indictment was also filed Thursday, July 20, by Moorer’s lawyer.

Heather Elvis, the 20-year-old Moorer is accused of kidnapping, was last heard from Dec. 18, 2013. Elvis’ car was found abandoned near Peachtree Landing along the Waccamaw River soon after.

Brittain said in this case, a trial for obstruction of justice could impact a subsequent trial.

“If I’m the prosecutor, I want to be able to establish that this person doesn’t play by the rules. That we can’t trust this person,” he added.

Brittain believes the prosecution has more to gain with a guilty verdict than the defense will have to gain with an acquittal.

“If it’s true and a jury finds the person guilty then that’s a very damming conviction that may be able to be used if and when they testify in a subsequent trial,” he added. “And could be a problem for the defendant in terms of conveniences and credibility at the second trial.”

Moorer was tried for kidnapping Elvis in June 2016. The jury declared a mistrial when they could not come to a unanimous decision.

Brittain believes the best defense in this case would be to explain Moorer didn’t intend to obstruct justice.

The indictment for an obstruction of justice charge was originally filed against Moorer Feb. 27, 2014. The indictment alleges that Moorer purposefully acted in a way that “prevented, obstructed, impeded, or hindered the administration of justice,” around Dec. 20, 2013.

An adjusted indictment came out in late March and simply expanded the timeline of when Moorer intentionally hindered the investigation into finding Elvis. The new indictment tacked on an additional day of potentially unlawful action and also removes the name of a former Horry County detective who has since been indicted on six counts of misconduct in office and five counts of criminal sexual conduct, third degree.

A retrial for Moorer’s kidnapping charge is planned in Georgetown County, but a date has not been set for that trial.