Buckner Indicted on 21 Counts

Buckner in an earlier court appearance.
Buckner in an earlier court appearance.

The murder of 12-year-old Ashleigh Moore last April left Savannah in shock. Investigators think Bobby Buckner, the man who was living in Ashleigh's home, was involved, but he was never charged. Today the district attorney's office indicted Buckner on 21 counts in all, including child molestation.

None of the charges involve Ashleigh. But police say the indictment stems from information they discovered as they investigated her death.

Ashleigh disappeared from her Southside home in April 2003. Right away, they arrested her mother's boyfriend--Buckner--for a probation violation. He is a convicted sex offender and was not supposed to be left alone with young girls.

"Bobby Buckner has been a person of interest since the morning he was arrested and he continues to be a person of interest," said Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department spokesman Bucky Burnsed.

A month later, a fisherman found Ashleigh's body behind the Marriott Hotel near the Savannah River. Police haven't been able to link Buckner to Ashleigh's death, but they linked him to many other crimes.

A Chatham County grand jury indicted Buckner on 21 separate charges today, including six counts of child molestation, five counts of making false statements to police, three counts of enticing a child for indecent purposes, and two counts of sexual exploitation of children.

Investigators believe he molested three girls under the age of 16 between July 1997 and December 2001.

"The wheels of justice have turned slowly but surely in this case," said Burnsed. "While we are gratified today to see more indictments come down alleging the improprieties of Bobby Buckner the investigation continues, we're not finished yet."

Buckner has been behind bars since police arrested him in 2003. In April of this year, a judge sentenced Buckner to 12 years in prison for violating his probation. If he is convicted on the charges listed in today's indictment, he could be serving a much longer sentence.

Reported by: Michelle Paynter, mpaynter@wtoc.com