COVINGTON, La. (BRPROUD) – A little over two years after James Michael Buckley, 44, was arrested in Covington, the Hammond man found out the next 50 years of his life will be behind bars.

With the victims looking on, the sentence came in on Monday, August 8, after Buckley was found guilty of the crimes listed below:

  • Second Degree Rape
  • Sexual Battery
  • Home Invasion
  • Simple Burglary of an Inhabited Dwelling
  • Two Counts of Attempted Simple Burglary of an Inhabited Dwelling

Buckley pled guilty to the above crimes before a jury trial could begin in St. Tammany Parish. The sentence stems from various incidents that took place over a 12-hour period in Covington on July 20, 2020.

The Covington Police Department responded to a call about a suspicious person trying to get inside a woman’s home. “She asked him what he wanted and he responded, “To use your phone. I ran out of gas,” according to 22nd JDC District Attorney Warren Montgomery’s Office. That person, later identified as James Buckley was not allowed to enter the home and left the premises.

Buckley left the home on a bike and within fifteen minutes, CPD received another call in the area. This time, Buckley was able to make it into a home through an unlocked door. With a large knife in tow, Buckley held the female victim “down by the neck, raped her, and proceeded to light a cigarette in her kitchen, which he left still burning on the counter,” according to 22nd JDC District Attorney Warren Montgomery’s Office.

Evidence was gathered from the rape victim. Buckley was subsequently seen on his bike near the scene of the rape.

Around 9 hours after this took place, the first person to come in contact with Buckley again called the Covington Police Department. This time, the woman thought she saw Buckley in front of her residence with a different shirt on. The responding officers were able to find “a burnt Newport brand cigarette and a Dollar General t-shirt tag in the vicinity” of the home, according to 22nd JDC District Attorney Warren Montgomery’s Office. Further investigation found that Buckley took a shirt from a Dollar General.

Around 12 hours after all this started, the 44-year-old was wearing the same t-shirt when officers came into contact with him. “Buckley was riding a bicycle, carrying a chainsaw and a vehicle jump starter on the front of a bicycle which were later to be determined to be” owned by the rape victim, according to 22nd JDC District Attorney Warren Montgomery’s Office.

The Hammond man was arrested and given a $750,000 bond.

When interviewed, “Buckley stated he did recall walking into one house and trying the knob on another, which he claimed he thought was a house of a friend,” according to 22nd JDC District Attorney Warren Montgomery’s Office.

DNA analysis and evidence from a rape kit helped investigators connect Buckley to what happened on that day. The St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office and Coroner’s Office helped the Covington Police Department on this case.