Wealthy political activist and Democratic donor Ed Buck was sentenced to 30 years in prison on charges of supplying and personally injecting gay men with methamphetamine in exchange for sex, resulting in two deaths and multiple other overdoses.
Buck, 67, was convicted in July by a federal jury on all nine counts, including obtaining a drug house, distributing methamphetamine and luring men to travel for prostitution.
Thursday’s sentencing closes a lengthy saga, involving Buck, who prosecutors say used his wealth and influence to prey and exploit mostly vulnerable Black men for “partying and playing” encounters “at his apartment in West Hollywood. The encounters were about Buck paying men to use drugs, injecting large quantities and performing sex acts on them. Officials said Buck injected methamphetamine with or without the men’s consent and sometimes when unconscious.
“Buck used his money and privilege to exploit the imbalance of wealth and power between himself and his victims, who were homeless, orphaned, and / or struggling with addiction,” said Chelsea Norell, attorney assistant in the United States, in a court file. “He spent thousands of dollars on drugs and party and play sessions that destroyed lives and brought about stealth addiction.”
Gemmel Moore, 26, suffered a fatal overdose at Buck’s West Hollywood apartment in July 2017. A second man, Timothy Dean, 55, died nearly two years later in 2019 of a fatal methamphetamine overdose at Buck’s home. It wasn’t until a third man overdosed twice in the apartment that Buck was arrested and charged. All three men were Black.
Relatives and activists had pushed for Buck’s arrest since Moore died. They have said that Buck has escaped criminal charges for years because of his wealth, political connections and race.
Buck, nicknamed “Doctor Kevorkian”, had at least 10 victims and would sometimes drug them while unconscious, according to a court filing. One victim said he was “unable to move” after Buck injected a sedative. He added that later when Buck wanted him to leave his home, Buck “became frustrated and got a power outage from a cupboard, turned it on, and approached [the] victim with it”.
Prosecutors urged the judge to sentence Buck to life in prison, saying he used “human beings as play stuff, destroying their lives just to elicit his own sexual satisfaction”. Buck’s attorneys sought a 10-year sentence, rather than “drop him to death in prison”. They asked the judge to consider Buck’s drug addiction, which they said developed due to a medical condition, and the sexual abuse suffered by his father and several priests.
LaTisha Nixon, Moore’s mother, said in a letter to the court that she hoped Buck would receive the maximum sentence. Nixon, a certified nursing assistant, said she could not comfort her son the way she has for countless dying people.
“All I can think about is how my son died naked on a mattress with no girlfriend around,” said Nixon. “No one is going to hold his hand or say good things to him.”
Buck asked for leniency before he was sentenced, telling the court: “I ask the court to look at my life completely,” he said, according to the Los Angeles Times, rather than “the horrific caricature that the government painted me as one. : meth-fueled ax killer ”.
Buck, a wealthy white man who was active in gay and animal rights issues, has donated more than $ 500,000, mostly to politicians and Democratic causes since 2000.
Black LGBTQ + activists in California had been advocating for years for Buck to be brought to justice and accused the police of ignoring their concerns and allowing Buck to continue to hurt people. Buck continued to prey on gay men after Moore’s death, even complaining about the investigation into Dean, who would later die in his home.
“Buck’s lack of remorse is appropriately captured in one image: as he was hiding out in a hotel, avoiding being arrested for the death of Gemmel Moore, he injected Dane Brown, another young Black man, with back-to-back slams of methamphetamine, ”said Norell.
Brown, who was homeless, moved to Buck’s apartment, where Buck often injected him with meth, often several times a day. He was hospitalized in September 2019 after Buck shot him up three times with back-to-back doses, putting five times the meth in his system that Moore and Dean had when they died, prosecutors said.
Brown returned to Buck’s home weeks later where Buck again injected himself with a methamphetamine overdose, and refused to help him, he said.
“Brown sat on the couch, resigned to the same fate as Moore and Dean, when he heard his deceased mother shouting at him, ‘Code, Dane,'” said Norell.
He escaped from Buck’s home and arrived at a nearby gas station, where he called for help and was taken to a hospital. His harrowing history of being revived twice finally led to Buck’s arrest.
How did Ed Buck make his money?
Steubenville, Ohio, U.S. Edward Bernard Peter Buck (born Buckmelter; August 24, 1954) is a convicted American felon and businessman. A former model and actor, he made a significant amount of money running and selling the data service company Gopher Courier.
What happened to Edward Buck?
Ed Buck, 66, was convicted on all nine felony counts in federal court, which could lead to a life sentence. The verdict came exactly four years after one of the victims, 26-year-old Gemmel Moore, was found dead from an overdose at Buck’s apartment in West Hollywood.