I have highlighted the quotes and added statement analysis in bold type.
When a defense attorney believes his client "didn't do it", the attorney makes this 'front and center' in language: it is dominant in his mind, and dominant in his speech. We look for an attorney who believes in his client to make this statement, early, and often, if necessary, and initially, without the support of additional words.
We look to hear "didn't do it" in the language of the two attorneys.
Article from Myhorrynews.com:
Prosecutors at a bond hearing Monday argued an Horry County couple charged with murdering Heather Elvis should be denied bond because of their travel connections, steps they’ve taken to move to Florida and threats of violence attorneys say they’ve made since the disappearance of the 20-year-old woman on Dec. 17, 2013.
“The case is extremely circumstantial at best and there is a severe lack of evidence,” Kirk Truslow, attorney for Sidney Moorer, said. “Quite honestly since it is a murder warrant, I thought I would see some evidence of his guilt of murder.”
Note that the shortest sentences are best. For example:
Strong: "The case is circumstantial"
Weakened: "The case is extremely circumstantial"
Strong: "There is a lack of evidence"
Weakened: "there is a severe lack of evidence"
Note next that he uses the expression, "honestly" which is often indication of something 'less than honest', but then adds the word "quite" to it.
Dishonest people, when wishing to be believed, will use this phrase.
Others, bound by laws of confidentiality, will also employ the word "honestly", but often by itself, as they must withhold some information. This includes those in the medical and legal professions. It is a common phrase, often associated with deceptive people. Please recall the teaching: it can be a phrase of 'politely' deceptive people, who were raised to falsely flatter.
Note that pronouns are instinctive. It is not expected to hear a defense attorney say "his guilt", giving ownership of guilt to his client, if the attorney believes his client 'didn't do it.'
Please note that there is a difference between being judicially "innocent" and "didn't do it."
In cases where attorneys believe that their client did not do it, we often find a statement expressing it in simple terms, standing upon its own strength, with no need for emphasis or qualifiers, especially early on. As evidence mounts, and doubt creeps in, we find the need for emphasis.
Where doubt is very strong, we often find hyperbole enter.
After more than two hours of testimony, Circuit Judge Steven John denied bond for the Moorers after expressing concern that the Socastee couple might not return to court to face murder and kidnapping charges.
Judge John also considered the potential for more violence in the community if the couple is released.
More than 200 other people, including members of the Moorer and Elvis families, packed a heavily-secured Horry County courtroom Monday to find out if the man and woman charged in connection with Elvis’ disappearance would be released on bond.
In related matters, John also said he will act as the chief administrative judge in the case until when or if the case gets reassigned to another judge.
Sidney and Tammy Moorer are charged with kidnapping and murder in connection with Elvis’ disappearance. They were previously charged with obstruction of justice and two counts of indecent exposure.
John said he might reconsider setting a bond if more evidence is presented.
Elvis disappeared some time after 6 a.m. Dec. 18. Her car was found at Peachtree Boat Landing in the Socastee area after a citizen reported its presence at about 5:47 p.m. Dec. 19, according to public records.
Monday’s hearing shined more light on the relationship between Heather Elvis and Sidney Moorer and the alleged harassment from Tammy Moorer after she discovered the relationship.
Deputy solicitor Donna Elder told the court that Tammy and Sidney Moorer were having sexual relations in different locations around the Myrtle Beach area at about the same time Elvis disappeared.
This may prove to be a sadist case where Tammy Moorer, viewed through the lens of her violent language, is sexually aroused by danger, violence, and perhaps, even the memory of the murder itself.
This leads me to wonder if some evidence associated with the case is 'trophy' or memorial-like in nature. Did they video tape or take pictures that will become evidence in the case?
Elder also said Tammy Moorer also handcuffed her husband, Sidney, to the bed and didn’t allow him to use the phone because she couldn’t trust him after Sidney had a relationship with Elvis.
More dominance by Tammy Moorer, also opening an understanding into the terror that Heather may have encountered.
Tammy Moorer’s attorney Greg McCollum pointed out during the hearing that Tammy, a lifelong resident of Socastee, has no prior record and a strong faith in the justice system.
“She doesn’t even have a traffic ticket,” he said. “She has a strong belief in the courts and looks forward to the point when she can face and answer the charges against her.”
This is also to avoid saying "she didn't do it."
We know that she is "innocent" judicially, but it is up to him to tell us that not only does she not have a traffic ticket, but more importantly, she didn't do it. If he is unable or unwilling to tell us this, we will not say it for him.
Kirk Truslow, Sidney Moorer’s attorney, said his client has a very limited criminal record with only one shoplifting charge dating back a few years.
Moorer paid a small fine to satisfy that charge. Truslow said the indecent exposure charges stemmed from sexual encounters Moorer had with his wife around the time of Elvis’ disappearance.
“My client was interviewed for long periods of time after Ms. Elvis disappeared, and during that time he mentioned to law enforcement that he had marital relations with his wife in his vehicle,” he said. “Months later they took his statement and obtained an arrest warrant for indecent exposure.”
Note that "mentioned" is a soft word, as if by chance, or casually done. If he was interviewed for hours, it would be extensive, and the topic of sex is generally not something just "mentioned" but intensely explored, particularly since a young woman of whom he had an affair with, was missing.
Note the need for minimization by the attorney.
Note that it was months later that they took "his statement", that is, to not deny what was in the statement but to affirm, and were able to obtain an arrest warrant.
This was sharp investigatory work; old fashioned "police work" that can be very effective, particularly the use of lesser charges and separating Sidney from the domineering Tammy.
During the hearing, prosecutor Donna Elder shared details of the relationship between Elvis and Sidney Moorer, as well as a timeline leading up to the night she disappeared. She called Elvis’ killing “premeditated.”'
"premeditated" speaks to planning. Tammy was the leader of the two. Tammy expressed open rage and hatred of Heather, while "missing", which is not something the guilty generally do. (see "mea culpa" analysis)
Regarding cold blooded murder: Profiling from the 1980's and 1990's often concluded that one could not simply 'graduate' to murder. News stories, regularly, debunk this. "Hot blooded" murders
Elder said Elvis and Sidney Moorer had a relationship from July to October of 2013.
“Sidney and Heather did care about each other,” she said. “Then Tammy found out about it.”
"Then" is a passage or skipping over of time. Between the care expressed, and the murder, we have the gap of time: premeditation.
Her language is consistent.
According to Elder, Tammy Moorer sent Elvis an explicit and threatening text message Nov. 1 telling her she had found out about the affair that had happened earlier in the year.
Elder said Elvis responded to Tammy Moorer saying, “I’m nobody you need to worry about anymore.”
It may be:
Heather attempted to distance herself, but the rageful, aging jilted former groupie to the rock stars could not bear the younger, beautiful Heather helping Sidney break control.
No phone calls or text messages were exchanged between the Moorers and Elvis between Nov. 5 and Dec. 17, the night before the 20-year-old disappeared. Elder said on the night of Dec. 17, Elvis returned home from a date.
“This information is based on GPS from her phone,” she said.
Elder then presented new details in a timeline of events leading up to Elvis’ disappearance.
At 1:35 a.m. on Dec. 18, Elder said Sidney Moorer called Elvis from a payphone. Not long after that phone call, Elvis phoned a friend in Florida to tell her that Sidney wanted to get back together with her, the prosecutor said.
At 2:29 a.m., Elvis returned the call, but no one answered. At 3:16 a.m., Elvis repeatedly tried to call Sidney Moorer’s cell phone with no response.
Elder said at 3:17 a.m., Elvis had a four-minute conversation with someone on Sidney’s cell phone. At that point, GPS showed that Elvis was still at home and Moorer’s cell phone was still at the Moorer home.
Elder said after the conversation, Elvis drove to the Peachtree Boat Landing.
“We know this because of the GPS coordinates from her phone,” Elder told the judge.
At 3:38 a.m., Elvis tried to call Sidney Moorer three more times, Elder continued. All phone data ended for Heather Elvis’ cell phone at 3:41 a.m.
The original missing persons police report from Dec. 19, 2013 said Terry Elvis showed police T-Mobile phone records indicating phone activity between Heather Elvis and Sidney Moorer as late as 6 a.m. Dec. 18. Lt. Robert Kegler, spokesman for Horry County police, said Tuesday afternoon that 3:41 a.m. is now the time police say when all phone data ended.
“The information [Donna Elder] gave is the information that I can give out,” Kegler said. “The original police report is just that. That’s what was known at the time. Other things have come out since then, which was said yesterday in court.”
Solicitor Jimmy Richardson agreed, saying the 6 a.m. time was a “roundabout figure.”
“That was just a really preliminary report that was sent out,” Richardson said. “We believe that by 6 a.m., Heather Elvis was already in harm’s way.”
When asked how Elvis died, Richardson said a cause of death has not been determined. “If we had a body, maybe we could determine the matter of death. We don’t know the manner of death and we may never know the manner of death,” he said.
Elder said police were able to recover surveillance video from a private residence and a business that shows a dark Ford F150 truck driving from the direction of the Moorer home to the boat landing and back between 3:36 a.m. to 3:46 a.m.
The S.C. Highway Patrol MAIT (Multidisciplinary Accident Investigation Team) helped identify the vehicle shown on surveillance video.
“We ran all registered vehicles fitting the description the MAIT team gave us and there were 82 that matched,” she said.
Horry County police went out and visually inspected all of the vehicles except one that belonged to the Moorers. At that time, police obtained a search warrant.
Elder said once Tammy Moorer discovered the affair between Elvis and her husband, which Elder said lasted between June and October 2013, Tammy Moorer began handcuffing her husband to the bed and wouldn’t allow him to use the telephone.
One may wish to learn how it is that the male was unable to be "allowed" to use the phone.
Elder said during initial interviews with police, the Moorers admitted to going to different areas of the Myrtle Beach area in the early morning hours of Dec. 18 after Elvis’ disappearance to have sexual relations. Those incidents led to the indecent exposure charges. Elder said police also interviewed the Moorers’ three children.
“They have been extremely coached and even then their stories conflict,” she said.
Coaching can be a form of emotional abuse of children, as it leaves them with anxiety, concerned about "letting down" their parents. Children do not understand why parents would coach them to "lie" when they are told to "tell the truth" while growing up. This leads to early and acute confusion.
Elder said she believes the Moorers set Elvis up to be at the Peachtree Boat Landing, met her there, kidnapped her and disposed of her body.
this has been what has been discussed: if she was, indeed, set up, it stands to reason that the leader, the one who would not "allow" Sidney to use the phone, orchestrated the murder. Perhaps Sidney, free from Tammy's domination, will come clean and give up the remains.
The prosecution did not say how Elvis was killed.
A police officer on routine patrol noticed the vehicle at the boat landing around 4 p.m. Dec. 18, Elder said, but the vehicle wasn’t investigated because Heather Elvis wasn’t considered a missing person at that point.
“When police on patrol checked the landing, they found Heather’s car locked. There was no crime scene there and no personal belongings,” she said. “Police didn’t think anything was wrong until Heather was reported missing.”
Elder said investigators have not been able to recover Elvis’ keys, phone or purse.
“We have had divers all around the area and even worked with Coastal Carolina University to get an ultrasound of the river all the way down to Winyah Bay,” she said.
Elder showed pictures, posted after Elvis’ disappearance, of Tammy and Sidney Moorer with guns.
She also gave the Moorers’ travel record and said they talked about moving or buying land in Florida. She also told the court about financial information that conflicted with loan applications and income tax forms.
Defense disputes prosecutors
Horry County Police Chief Saundra Rhodes also asked the judge to deny bond.
Rhodes told John that the Moorers have called police 39 times since Heather Elvis vanished.
“Most of the calls were threats made to them on social media,” she said. “We have spent hundreds of hours on this case and immeasurable resources investigating it.”
Rhodes said she thinks the Moorers might pose a threat to the community if they were released.
“When we responded to their home, we were often met by an armed Sidney Moorer and if released, in my opinion, we will have more violent confrontations,” the chief said.
Heather Elvis’ father Terry Elvis also asked the judge to deny bond.
“We have put our life on hold and we are now asking you to protect our youngest daughter,” he said.
“I am afraid that threats to my family will get worse if bond is allowed.”
We all are drawn to those we have commonality with; including those drawn to support Tammy Moorer and Sidney Moorer. This was a wise statement by Terry Elvis.
But Truslow, Sidney Moorer’s attorney, said most of the evidence the state presented was “fabricated.”
He also called the state’s case against the Moorers highly circumstantial.
“There is a severe lack of evidence in this case. There is no evidence that he was at the boat landing or in that vehicle,” Truslow said. “There is no evidence that he was involved in a murder or kidnapping. There is evidence that he had an affair with a younger woman that ended in October. This thing has snowballed into an outrageous witch hunt where there is no real evidence.”
McCollum, Tammy Moorer’s attorney, said when police executed the search warrant on the Moorers’ home, Tammy Moorer was very cooperative and spoke freely to them.
“She consented to police to search and look at things,” he said.
Note that he separates "search" from "look at things." What "things" does he refer to? How is this different than things seen or found during a "search."
Does this suggest some form of video or photographic evidence on the phone, or other device, that the Moorers kept?
Waccamaw Publishers has requested the search warrants and search warrant results from the magistrate who signed the warrants, but the request was denied.
After the hearing, supporters wearing Team Heather shirts filled the halls.
Melissa Gray, one of the supporters, said she and her family and friends have worked tirelessly searching for Heather Elvis and helping the Elvis family at the tip tent.
The tip tent has been set up at the Socastee Swing Bridge and on S.C. 544 at Mill Pond Road in order to take possible leads and tips from the public in regards to Elvis’ whereabouts.
“We want to find Heather,” she said. “We have helped at the tip tent almost every weekend since she disappeared.”
Carolina Forest Chronicle editor Michael Smith contributed to this report.