Man Convicted after Murdering Woman with Rock on Beach

PORTLAND, Maine – Jeffrey Buchannan, a 36-year-old man from Massachusetts, has been sentenced to 40 years in prison for the brutal murder of his girlfriend, Rhonda Pattelena, on a beach in Maine. Buchannan pleaded guilty to one count of murder earlier this month, avoiding a trial and securing an agreement with prosecutors that capped his sentence at 43 years. The judge, abiding by the terms of the agreement, handed down a 40-year sentence on Wednesday.

The killing took place on March 26, 2021, publicly acknowledged as a daytime attack. Buchannan and Pattelena, who was the mother of Buchannan’s toddler son at the time, had a troubled history and had been dating on and off for seven years. In 2017, Buchannan was convicted of felony kidnapping and assaulting Pattelena and her two older sons. However, at the time of the murder, many friends and family members were unaware that the couple had reconciled.

During the sentencing hearing, the court was shown the rock used by Buchannan to beat Pattelena to death, while prosecutors detailed the injuries she suffered.

According to witnesses, surveillance footage, and court records, Buchannan attacked Pattelena while she was in the process of sending a Snapchat video to a friend. Multiple cameras captured parts of the attack, including Buchannan repeatedly striking the victim. After the murder, Buchannan was seen walking away from the crime scene and attempting to hide the victim’s body.

In an initial police interview, Buchannan claimed to have blacked out before the incident and only regained consciousness to find Pattelena on the ground. However, prosecutors argued against Buchannan’s claim of insanity, presenting evidence that contradicted his assertion.

A GoFundMe page has been created by one of Pattelena’s close friends to raise funds for her three children. Friends of the victim have emphasized that they want her favorite beach to be a place to remember her love for the ocean, rather than the tragic events that unfolded there.

With the judge’s sentencing, Buchannan will spend the next four decades behind bars for the murder of Rhonda Pattelena, a woman loved and cherished by many.