Buckner not facing the death penalty - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Buckner not facing the death penalty

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A Savannah man accused of kidnapping, molesting, and strangling a 12-year-old Savannah girl will not be facing the death penalty.

Bobby Buckner's legal team and the Chatham County District Attorney's office both agree that making this a death penalty case will cost a lot of money, and under Senate Bill 13 they do not have to try this case as a death penalty case. The state confirmed the family of the victim, Ashleigh Moore, agrees with this decision.

Moore disappeared from her Savannah home back in 2003. A month later her body was found along the banks of the Savannah River. Buckner was living with Ashleigh's mom when the teen disappeared. Buckner, a convicted a child molestor, was arrested in 2003 for being in violation of his probation, but wasn't charged with Ashleigh's death until 2007.

In court Thursday, Judge Penny Haas Freesemann listened to arguments by both the state and defense. The defense argued the state is not turning over material to them in a timely fashion. The state says they are, but when questioned about certain items the state wasn't sure if they had the material or not, claiming that a former prosecutor was handling the case, but then left. The state admitted to not having a chance to look through all of the material. Judge Freesemann told the state to get up to speed and that this case would go to trial by the beginning of 2012.

Friday, the hearing will reconvene where they will go over what evidence jurors will be permitted to see and what they wont.

WTOC will have crews in the courtroom and bring you the latest.

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