Joseph C. Roberts is linked to the death of Rachel Elizabeth Imani Buckner by DNA evidence, according to police
Joseph C. Roberts, 42, was elected in 2020 for the San Francisco Republican Central Committee and claimed he was a victim of false accusations related to #MeToo, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
He also became known for defending men who claimed they were wrongfully accused of sexual harassment and praised Betsy DeVos — appointed Education Secretary by former President Donald Trump — when she announced new rules that strengthened the rights of due process for college students facing sexual misconduct allegations, the San Francisco Standard reported.
The former Republican was suspended from Savannah State University in Georgia after sexual harassment allegations came to light in 2013 and later wrote about being "falsely accused" in a July 2020 opinion piece for USA Today.
“It was as if I was an escaped convict or an active shooter loose on campus,” Roberts wrote. “And it was all based on nothing but hearsay.”
DNA evidence reportedly connected Roberts to the death of Rachel Elizabeth Imani Buckner, 27, back in July, police confirmed to PEOPLE.
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In September — two months after Buckner’s remains were discovered on a Bay Area shoreline — Roberts was charged with murder, online jail records show.
According to the Alameda Police Department, Buckner’s remains were discovered inside a bag on July 20, but were not identified until Aug. 30. United States Marshals arrested Roberts a week later, police said.
Buckner’s body was found with its head, hands and feet severed, KTVU reported, citing court documents.
According to KTVU, Roberts and Buckner shared a residence in Pleasanton, Calif., but had no apparent connection to Alameda, where her body was discovered.
Police said that Roberts had not reported Buckner missing and had continued to use her cell phone after her death to contact several other women, per KTVU.
According to a GoFundMe page organized by her mother, S. Jamila Buckner, Buckner was a Howard University graduate and earned a law degree from Golden Gate University.
S. Jamila Buckner wrote her daughter “was a beautiful and radiant light” and “had an infectious spirit that you could not help but smile when around and gravitate towards.”
The Alameda County District Attorney's Office did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
If you are experiencing domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or go to thehotline.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.
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