Disgraced political activist and Democratic donor Ed Buck has been convicted of fatally injecting two men with methamphetamine in exchange for sex and sentenced to 30 years in prison.
Buck, a wealthy white 67-year-old man, would reportedly pay young black men to “party and play” at his West Hollywood apartment, targeting men who were experiencing homelessness, addiction and poverty.
The former donor, who gave more than $500,000 to mostly Democratic causes, used social media platforms, as well as dating and escort websites, to solicit the victims, prosecutors said. Additionally, prosecutors said he relied on referrals from previous victims.
Buck as (14 April) has been sentenced to 30 years in prison on charges that he supplied and personally injected gay men with methamphetamine in exchange for sex, leading to two deaths and multiple other overdoses.
The court heard how the accused “engaged in a pattern of soliciting men to consume drugs that Buck provided and perform sexual acts at Buck’s apartment”.
In July 2021, Buck was found guilty by a federal jury on all nine counts, including having a drug house, distributing methamphetamine and enticing men to travel for prostitution.
Gemmel Moore, 26, died in Buck’s home in July 2017, and then Timothy Dean, 55, in January 2019.
Since the tragic deaths, Black LGBT+ activists in California have been tirelessly campaigning for justice, arguing that Buck, who was nicknamed “Doctor Kevorkian”, escaped criminal charges for years simply because of his wealth, political ties and race.
“Buck used his money and privilege to exploit the wealth and power imbalances between himself and his victims, who were unhoused, destitute, and/or struggling with addiction,” said Chelsea Norell, an assistant US attorney, in a court filing.
“He spent thousands of dollars on drugs and party and play sessions that destroyed lives and bred insidious addictions.”
The victims’ family and friends gave tearful testimonies at the court in downtown LA. Moore’s mother, LaTisha Nixon, said “This man killed my son. Judge Snyder, please give this man the longest sentence allowed by law… I warned him to stay away from Buck – now all I have is memories and his ashes.”
During sentencing, Buck continued to profess his innocence, while his lawyers requested he be spared a prison sentence.
On Thursday (14 April), Judge Snyder slammed the ‘horrific’ and ‘reprehensible’ crimes, and described the case as “one of the most difficult and tragic” she had ever presided.
Following his sentencing, US attorney Tracy L Wilkison said in a statement on Thursday: “This defendant preyed upon vulnerable victims – men who were drug-dependent and often without homes – to feed an obsession that led to death and misery.
“Mr Buck continues to pose a clear danger to society, as evidenced by him continuing to lure men to his apartment, even after he killed two men with lethal methamphetamine injections.
“The sentence imposed today will protect other potential victims and hopefully will bring some solace to the families of two men who needlessly died in Mr Buck’s apartment.”
The verdict was reached exactly four years after Moore was found dead in Buck’s Hollywood apartment.