Bobby Buckner back in court - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Bobby Buckner back in court

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SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

Bobby Buckner is accused of strangling 12-year-old Ashleigh Moore back in 2003. Now, eight years later, he and his defense attorneys are at another motion hearing. This is the last one before Buckner heads to trial.

Shackled in chains, Bobby Buckner sat in court Wednesday, while his defense attorneys and the Prosecutor battled it out. Both teams arguing over what evidence can and can't be admissible when Buckner goes to trial.

Bobby Buckner is accused of strangling Ashleigh Moore back in 2003. Family, friends, strangers, and Police searched for her for more than a month before her body was found on Hutchinson Island. Police targeted Buckner because he was the boyfriend of Ashleigh's mom, Michelle Moore. He also had served time for molesting at least three other girls.

The Defense says four Caucasian hairs were found on Ashleigh Moore's body. Three of the four hairs were destroyed, per lab policy. One, that was found under Ashleigh's fingernails, was bagged and sealed. But when Sergeant Roger Flannery, the Savannah Chatham Metro Police Department's Evidence Custodian, opened up the bag in court, there was no hair inside. The Defense confirmed with Flannery that hair also wasn't tested until 2009, six years after Ashleigh was killed.

Also destroyed, per lab policy: Ashleigh Moore's hair, muscle and brain tissue. Other items could not be found in the evidence lockup by Flannery, including clothing items.

But Sergeant Flannery was able to provide part of a plastic sidewall from inside of a car trunk, soil samples from Hutchinson Island, where Ashleigh's body was found, plus a text book in the same area.

The Defense also wants to ban two witnesses from testifying. He said they were only children at the time of the murder, and says both have given conflicting testimonies.

Buckner's attorneys also want to exclude cell phone records from Emmanuel Leemus. It's believed Buckner had possession of that phone and used it to call Michelle Moore, Ashleigh's Mom, the morning of her disappearance. The Defense says now the cell phone company has gone out of business, and the cell phone towers don't exist any more.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation's Medical Examiner also took the stand today. He performed the autopsy on Ashleigh Moore's body.

Bobby Buckner's murder trial is scheduled to begin in early 2012.

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