Man Sentenced for Killing Girlfriend, Whose Dismembered Remains Were Found in Trash Bag Along Trail

"While we hope this sentence will provide a sense of closure, no punishment will ever undo what Joseph Roberts did," said District Attorney Pamela Y. Price

<p>gofundme</p> Rachel Elizabeth Imani Buckner


Rachel Elizabeth Imani Buckner

A man whose girlfriend's dismembered remains were found in a trash bag along a trail in California has been sentenced for her murder.

The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office announced in a press release on Tuesday, July 2, that 43-year-old Joseph Roberts was sentenced to 15 years to life for the murder of 27-year-old Rachel Elizabeth Imani Buckner.

He was credited 300 days of time served before being transferred to San Quentin State Prison and was ordered to pay $19,818 in restitution.

His sentencing comes nearly two months after being found guilty of second-degree murder in connection to the case.

<p>Alameda Police Department</p> Joseph Roberts

Alameda Police Department

Joseph Roberts

On July 20, 2023, officers from the Alameda Police Department responded to a call about a suspicious circumstance report that resulted in the discovery of a woman’s dismembered body inside a black garbage bag along a waterfront trail on Bay Farm Island in Alameda, a prior press release explains.

The remains were identified as Buckner's on Aug. 29, 2023. Online jail records reviewed by PEOPLE show that he was arrested nearly a week later, on Sept. 6, 2023.

According to the district attorney's office, police were able to connect Roberts to the crime after his DNA was found on a piece of duct tape used to seal the bag.

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The DA's office explained in a prior release that he and Buckner first met at Golden Gate University Law School in 2019 and shared an apartment together. According to the Los Angeles Times, the two were also engaged at the time of Buckner's death.

"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. Roberts at the time of her disappearance, the evidence shows that he never reported that she was missing," the DA's office said.

"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," District Attorney Pamela Y. Price said in a statement after Roberts' sentencing.

<p>Getty</p> Stock image of a court gavel


Stock image of a court gavel

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"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," Price added.

In a GoFundMe created after Buckner's death, her mother remembered her as a "beautiful and radiant light" who "had an infectious spirit that you could not help but smile when around and gravitate towards."

The tribute added that Bucker "was an accomplished woman on her way to being an exceptional professional" who "was at the beginning of her life and her journey and had so much more life to live."

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"Imani is survived in life by her grandmother, mother, her older brother, her younger brother, her young daughter, her Aunt Sis, and a number of other beloved extended family members," the tribute adds.

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