Man guilty of murdering girlfriend and leaving her dismembered body in a garbage bag

ALAMEDA COUNTY, CA – A man from California has been handed a life sentence following his conviction for brutally murdering his girlfriend. The mutilated remains of the victim were found in a waterfront trail in Alameda in July 2023. Joseph Roberts, aged 43, has been declared guilty of second-degree murder of his girlfriend, 27-year-old Rachel Elizabeth Imani Buckner by a California jury. Roberts now faces a prison term ranging from 15 years to life.

The jury reached the verdict in under a day after evaluating evidence and testimonies. The investigation, led by the Alameda Police Department, was launched when they responded to a “suspicious circumstance report”, finding the dismembered body of a woman in a garbage bag near the Harbor Bay Club.

Evidence provided in court displayed traces of Roberts’ DNA on the duct tape used to seal the bag. Additional information gathered by detectives suggested that Roberts met Buckner at the Golden Gate University Law School in 2019. The couple shared an apartment in Pleasanton, a location police visited frequently due to welfare checks and reports of domestic violence.

Prosecutors emphasized that Buckner was still residing with Roberts at the time of her disappearance, which was never reported by Roberts. Her identification took two months following the gruesome discovery of her remains.

Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price stated that the verdict brought justice not only for Bucker but also for her daughter, close family, extended relatives, and the community. She described the horrific crime as unforgettable and said it shocked our humanity, traumatizing them every time it got mentioned.

Buckner’s family expressed their despair over her death, noting that it left an indescribable void in the community. The formal sentencing of Roberts is scheduled for June 14, 2024, at the René C. Davidson Courthouse.