Jury: Man and woman not guilty in murder case

COLUMBUS, Ga. (AP) - A Muscogee County Superior Court jury have found a man and a woman not guilty of the 2002 murder of a 72-year-old Columbus man.

Erica Rutherford, 20, and Demetrius Pyatt, 23, were arrested in February for the death of Moses Buckner.

But the jury deliberated for less than two hours before reaching a not guilty verdict Friday in the week-long trial.

Buckner, a cousin of Recorder's Court Judge Mary Buckner, was found inside his home, dead of a gunshot wound on Aug. 6, 2002.

Defense attorneys had argued a cross and a chain allegedly belonging to Buckner that was sold by Pyatt in 2002 were not unique and could be duplicates of Buckner's jewelry.

Attorney Michael Garner said there were no fingerprints found at the scene, no matching DNA and no witnesses. Police found a bloody T-shirt at Pyatt's house that did not match Buckner's blood.

"It's not a lack of evidence, it's an absence of evidence," Garner said.

Assistant District Attorney Richard Mobley tried to persuade the jury to convict the pair, saying the killing was a "robbery gone bad."