Buckner Found Guilty of Probation Violation - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

04/15/04

Buckner Found Guilty of Probation Violation

Convicted sex offender Bobby Buckner was living with Ashleigh Moore's family when she disappeared. Convicted sex offender Bobby Buckner was living with Ashleigh Moore's family when she disappeared.

The last man known to have been with Ashleigh Moore is going back to jail tonight, but for a different reason. A judge sentenced Bobby Buckner to 12 years in prison for violating his probation. Buckner's lawyer, Michael Schiavone, says that since the state couldn't prove he had anything to do with the death of Ashleigh Moore they went after him any way they could, including his past record.

From young girls admitting they had consensual sex with Buckner to others saying that he gave them drugs and alcohol, a parade of witnesses testified that Bobby Buckner was in violation of his probation. But today's hearing had more to do with the still-unsolved murder of 12-year-old Ashleigh Moore.

"We're here because of Ashleigh Moore, not because Bobby Buckner is some predator or chasing young small children, that's not what this is about," said Schiavone.

According to the defense, this was about the state putting Buckner back behind bars using any evidence they could. Even if it meant bringing Ashleigh's mother to the stand. "[Probation officer] Miss Alexander did tell me that Bobby couldn't be left alone with my kids," she testified.

She used to date Buckner and admitted leaving Buckner alone with her two young daughters. A violation of his probation, even though his probation officers didn't arrest him for it.

"They knew what his work schedule was," said Schiavone. "He was working full time at the sugar refinery. They knew who lived at this residence, they made random checks, so they knew what was going on and they had no problem with it."

The judge voiced concern about Buckner being a sexual predator, and found him guilty of violating his probation. Which, according to Buckner's attorney, was all the state could do because they couldn't prove anything else.

"Nobody complained about where he lived, who he lived with until Ashleigh Moore was missing, that's what this is all about," said Schiavone. "This is to punish him because they have no evidence against him in reference to Ashleigh Moore."

At this time, Buckner's attorney doesn't know if he'll appeal the case. But Ashleigh Moore's homicide is still an open investigation.

Reported by: Nicole Teigen, nteigen@wtoc.com

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