It took a month to ID her body. Law school student’s fiancé now convicted of murder

Joseph Roberts at the Wiley Manuel Courthouse on Friday, September 29, 2023 in Oakland, Calif.
Joseph Roberts is seen during an appearance in Department 112 at the Wiley Manuel Courthouse on Friday, September 29, 2023 in Oakland, Calif.
(Lea Suzuki/San Francisco Chronicle)

A 42-year-old man whose fiancée’s body was found dismembered in a bag at the edge of San Francisco Bay was convicted of murder Monday.

A jury in Alameda County found Joseph C. Roberts guilty of second-degree murder for killing his girlfriend, Rachel Elizabeth Imani Buckner, 27, and disposing of her body along the shoreline last year.

Roberts faces 15 years to life in prison, and is set to be sentenced on June 14, according to KTVU Fox 2.


“Today means I can breathe a little bit easier,” Buckner’s mother, S. Jamila Buckner, said on the courthouse steps, according to the station.

Authorities estimate the Tesla Model 3 was traveling over 100 mph when it hit a curb and launched into the air before crashing into a building.

May 14, 2024

Buckner’s body was found July 20 near the Bay Farm Island Bridge spanning the San Leandro Channel. Authorities initially had little information to go on because the body was dismembered, investigators told Bay Area news station KTVU.

Police identified Buckner through DNA evidence on Aug. 30 and a week later arrested Roberts.

The two lived together in Pleasanton. They had met at Golden Gate University School of Law.

Buckner, who earlier graduated from Howard University, was just a few months shy of graduation from law school when she was killed.

“To anyone that got to know and be around Imani, she was a beautiful and radiant light,” her mother said at the time.