Myrtle Beach criminal defense attorney explains what could happen in Moorer case

Criminal Defense Attorney Jonny McCoy speaking about the dismissal of murder charges in the Heather Elvis case (WPDE)

The murder charges Tammy and Sidney Moorer in the Heather Elvis case have been dismissed, but both still face kidnapping charges.

Jonny McCoy, a criminal defense attorney in Myrtle Beach, said he thinks the dismissal of the murder charges is a move that the Elvis family should be happy about.

"The prosecution made the right move," he said. "I think that the Elvis family and their supporters should be relieved, because if they went to trial tomorrow I would be terrified, if I was their family, that someone could get away with murder."

On the other hand, he said the Moorers should not be celebrating.

"If I were the Moorers, I would be unhappy," he added. "I would want my day in court. I wouldn't want this hanging over my head."

Despite the dismissal of the murder charges, McCoy said it's crucial to note the distinction.

"The murder charges were dismissed, but they were nol prossed, which means they can bring them back up at any time," he explained. "People need to understand it's not like they dismissed the case and found evidence to the contrary of their guilt or innocence. It is the fact that they did not want to take a risk of going forward at trial and risking double jeopardy."

The kidnapping charges against both Tammy and Sidney Moorer remain on the table, but McCoy said it's unclear whether double jeopardy could still come into play.

"We don't really know as the public, because of the gag order, if the same facts would come out in the kidnapping case as the murder case. Then double jeopardy would preclude them from trying them on the murder charges. But, if the kidnapping has a little bit of different facts than the murder and vice versa, then double jeopardy doesn't attach."

In South Carolina, McCoy said kidnapping carries a sentence from probation to 30 years in prison.

"In this case, I think all that they will literally have to prove is that she was held against her will for even one second," McCoy said.

An obstruction of justice charge has also been dismissed for Tammy Moorer, and two charges of indecent exposure have been dismissed against both.

In addition to kidnapping, Sidney Moorer still faces obstruction of justice charges.

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