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Buckey Prosecutor Unsure of Witnesses’ Recollections : Witness Recall Questioned in Buckey Retrial

ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER

Opening statements began today in the retrial of Raymond Buckey with a prosecutor telling jurors he is uncertain what three children can remember of alleged molestations at the McMartin Pre-School.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Joseph Martinez noted that the toddlers are now pre-teens and their memories might have faded with time.

“I don’t know how much they will recall, how much they have repressed,” the prosecutor said.

Buckey’s attorney, Danny Davis, said the defendant will take the stand, look jurors in the eyes and declare that he never molested anyone.

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Davis noted that one child scheduled to testify was never a student of Buckey at the McMartin school, which was owned and operated by his family.

“You will have the opportunity to see this man charged with these heinous crimes, to look into his eyes and look into his soul,” Davis told the jury.

The lawyers spoke after Superior Court Judge Stanley Weisberg dismissed an alternate juror who came to court distressed by a fire that engulfed her boat during a weekend family outing. She and others suffered smoke inhalation before being rescued by the harbor patrol.

She also said she took a tranquilizer before coming to court, but “I feel very nervous and upset.”

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The woman began coughing violently at the start of Martinez’s speech and was ushered out of court. She had said she might be too upset to go forward and the judge decided to excuse her. That left five alternate jurors.

The interruption came as Martinez was beginning to recount for jurors the evidence which he said would prove the three girls were molested by Buckey.

He told how one child began to have nightmares and showed other signs of molestation during the two years she attended the McMartin school.

As Martinez spoke, Buckey’s mother, Peggy McMartin Buckey, sat in the audience taking notes. The defendant’s father, Charles Buckey, also attended, but the spectator section was not as crowded as during the culmination of another trial in which Buckey’s mother was acquitted of all charges and Ray Buckey was acquitted of the majority of allegations against him.

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The district attorney’s office decided to retry Buckey, 31, on eight counts involving the three children, a greatly diminished number from the hundreds who were once said to have been molested at the school.


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