Joseph Roberts Sentenced to 15 Years to Life for the Murder of Rachel Imani Buckner

July 2, 2024 

OAKLAND, CA—Today, Joseph Roberts (43) was sentenced to 15 years to life for the murder of Rachel Elizabeth Imani Buckner (27). Hon. Judge Scott Patton also ordered Roberts to pay $19,818 in restitution. 

On May 13, 2024, a jury found Joseph Roberts guilty of second-degree murder for the death of Ms. Buckner, whose dismembered body was found inside a black garbage bag along a waterfront trail on Bay Farm Island in the City of Alameda on August 29, 2023. The evidence in the case included the defendant’s DNA being found on a piece of duct tape used to seal the garbage bag. Mr. Roberts and Ms. Buckner shared an apartment in Pleasanton. Police records show officers responded to the apartment for several welfare checks and domestic violence calls. Although Ms. Buckner was living with Mr. Roberts at the time of her disappearance, the evidence showed that he never reported that she was missing. Before ordering the sentence, Judge Patton told Mr. Roberts that his crime was one of the most heinous he had ever seen. However, a second-degree murder conviction and 15 years to life sentence was the maximum penalty due to the evidence and circumstances of the case. 

“Words are inadequate to describe what Rachel Imani Buckner’s family must be feeling in this moment after their loved one was tragically taken from them in such an unthinkable way,” said DA Pamela Price. “While we hope this sentence will provide a sense of closure, no punishment will ever undo what Joseph Roberts did to Rachel and the lasting impact it will have on her family. I want to thank our prosecution team, led by Deputy District Attorney Colleen Clark, for their hard work and professionalism during the pursuit of justice in this case. I also thank DAO Inspector Bruce Christiansen, Victim-Witness Advocate Erica Chavis, and our support staff for supporting Rachel’s family and friends throughout this trial.” 

Joseph Roberts was credited 300 days of time served before being transferred to San Quentin State Prison. 

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Contact: damedia@acgov.org 

The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office (DAO) is one of California’s largest prosecutors’ offices and is led by Alameda County’s first Black woman District Attorney Pamela Y. Price. Price brings her vision to this office to fairly administer justice in the pursuit of thriving, healthy, and safe communities for every person who steps foot in Alameda County, no matter their race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, income, or zip code. Price has been recognized as one of the most progressive prosecutors through her forward-thinking, innovative strategies to interrupt cycles of violence and crime and bring change to a criminal justice system rooted in systemic racism. Follow Madam DA on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, and @AlamedaCountyda on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.