Buckner Pleads Guilty to Molesting Young Girls - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

09/20/2006

Buckner Pleads Guilty to Molesting Young Girls

Ashleigh Moore Ashleigh Moore
Buckner in a prior court appearance, from the WTOC archive. Buckner in a prior court appearance, from the WTOC archive.

Remember Ashleigh Moore? In 2003, the 12-year-old vanished from her home. Police later found her body along the Savannah riverfront. (Click here to browse the wtoc.com archive of stories about the case.)

Now a key figure in her murder, Bobby Buckner, has pleaded guilty to molesting other girls.

Buckner has never been charged with killing Ashleigh Moore. Savannah-Chatham police investigators still call him a person of interest. While they were looking at him for the murder, they uncovered a history of him molesting other young girls.

In 1996 he pled guilty to molesting a 12-year-old girl. Today, he pled guilty to molesting three girls under the age of 16 between 1997 and 1998.

He remains a person of interest in the 2003 murder of Ashleigh Moore.

Buckner's history became public knowledge when Moore disappeared from her southside Savannah home. Police found her body weeks later in some woods behind the Marriott Hotel along the Savannah River.

Buckner was living with Moore and her sister at the time--a violation of his probation. Back then, a judge sentenced him to 12 years in prison.

Today he received another 13 years for molesting the three young girls, but that will run simultaneously with his probation sentence and he will get credit for time already served. That means he'll be free in ten years.

Buckner was scheduled to go to trial for molesting the three girls next month.

The district attorney's office says it has been working on a plea offer for the past few months.

Reported by Michelle Paynter, mpaynter@wtoc.com

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