May 13, 2024

OAKLAND, CA — Today, Alameda County District Attorney Pamela Price announced that prosecutors obtained a conviction against Joseph Roberts, 43, for the murder of Rachel Elizabeth Imani Buckner. The jury deliberated for less than a day and found Defendant Roberts guilty of second-degree murder for murdering Ms. Buckner, whose dismembered body was found along a waterfront trial in Alameda.

The testimony and evidence presented at trial showed that on July 20, 2023, the Alameda Police Department responded to a suspicious circumstance report. When officers arrived on the scene, they found a woman’s dismembered body inside a black garbage bag near the Harbor Bay Club on Bay Farm Island. On August 29, 2023, the female was identified as 27-year-old Rachel Buckner.

The jury also heard evidence that Mr. Roberts’ DNA was found on the duct tape used to seal the garbage bag. Mr. Roberts and Ms. Buckner met at Golden Gate University Law School in 2019 and lived together in an apartment in Pleasanton. Police records show Pleasanton police officers were called to the apartment for multiple welfare checks and domestic violence calls. Although Ms. Buckner was living with Mr. Buckner at the time of her disappearance, the evidence shows that he never reported that she was missing.

“I first want to thank the jury for their work in delivering this guilty verdict,” said DA Pamela Price. “I also want to thank the City of Alameda Police Department, the FBI, and the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office for their diligent investigation. I also want to commend our entire prosecution team, including Deputy District Attorney Colleen Clark, DAO Inspector Bruce Christiansen, Victim-Witness Advocate Erica Chavis, and our professional support staff for their compassionate support of the family and friends of Ms. Buckner.  Today’s verdict brings justice not only to Rachel Elizabeth Imani Buckner but also to her daughter, her immediate and extended family, and our community. What happened to Rachel Elizabeth Imani Buckner is unimaginable. The condition of her body when it was found shocks our humanity. This tragedy will leave her family and our community forever traumatized whenever her murder is mentioned.”

Mr. Roberts faces 15 years to life in prison. The second-degree murder charge was the maximum charge he faced due to the circumstances of the case. He will be sentenced on June 14, 2024, at the René C. Davidson Courthouse, Department 8.

 

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.