East Bay man accused of murdering girlfriend claimed he was victim of #MeToo

Left: Joseph C. Roberts, Right: Rachel Elizabeth Imani Buckner

New details have come to light about the East Bay man accused of killing his girlfriend and disposing her body on an Alameda shoreline.

Joseph C. Roberts, 42, arrested earlier this month in the murder of Rachel Elizabeth Imani Buckner, 27, was elected in 2020 to serve in the San Francisco Republican Central Committee, and claimed he was the victim of #MeToo when he was suspended from college, the Chronicle detailed.

Buckner's body was found wrapped in plastic and duct tape on July 20 near the Bay Farm shoreline in Alameda. Court documents revealed that her head, hands, and feet were severed from her body and have not been located. 

Her identity remained unknown until Aug. 29 after an autopsy was complete and DNA evidence processed. Roberts was arrested about a week later.

ALSO: Victim's fiancé charged with murder after dismembered body found near Alameda shoreline

Since the arrest, details about Roberts' past have slowly surfaced.

In 2013, two students from Savannah State University in Georgia accused Roberts of verbal and online sexual harassment, resulting in his suspension from college. 

In multiple interviews after his suspension, Roberts was cast as a casualty of the #MeToo movement.

Roberts was quoted in Politico praising Education Secretary Betsy DeVos' decision to overhaul how institutions handle sexual misconduct allegations in 2020. 

In the spring of 2020, Roberts ran for a seat on the San Francisco Republican Central Committee, representing Assembly District 17. His campaign pegged him as the ‘law and order candidate,’ and he promised to support the local police department.

Roberts reportedly met Buckner at Golden Gate University School of Law. They had an apartment in Pleasanton and were engaged to be married.

Roberts is being held in Santa Rita Jail without the option of posting bail.

A vigil was held Sept. 15 for Buckner along the shoreline where her body was found.

In a GoFundMe account, Buckner's family described her as a "beautiful and radiant light" with so much more life to live.

"She had an infectious spirit that you could not help but smile when around and gravitate towards," her family wrote.

ALSO: Family grieves young woman with 'bright future' found dead in Alameda