Crime

Disgraced donor Ed Buck jailed for 30 years for injecting gay Black men with fatal overdoses

Lily Wakefield April 15, 2022
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Ed buck

Prominent Democratic Party donor Ed Buck appears in court in 2019. (Los Angeles Times via Getty/ Al Seib)

Disgraced democratic donor Ed Buck, convicted of fatally injecting two gay men with drugs, has been sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Last year Buck, a political activist who has given more than $500,000 to mostly Democratic politicians and causes since 2000, was convicted on nine felony counts by a federal jury in Los Angeles.

The charges included maintaining a drug den, enticement to cross state lines to engage in prostitution, and distribution of methamphetamine resulting in death.

Two gay, Black men were found dead in Buck’s home having been injected with methamphetamine, or crystal meth – 26-year-old Gemmel Moore in 2017, and 55-year old Timothy Dean in 2019.

According to Buck’s 2019 indictment, the wealthy businessman “engaged in a pattern of soliciting men to consume drugs that Buck provided and perform sexual acts at Buck’s apartment”.

At his sentencing, Buck continued to profess his innocence, and his lawyers asked that he be spared a prison sentence.

But US district judge Christina Snyder sided with the prosecution, sentencing Buck to 30 years behind bars, meaning he will likely die in prison.

According to The Independent, prosecutors wrote: “If Buck were ever released he would feed his compulsion to inject others until the day he died.”

The journey to Buck’s sentencing has been long and fraught, with Black LGBT+ activists in California having campaigned for justice for years. Many claim that Buck escaped consequences for his crimes for so long because of his wealth, race, and political connections.

Victims' families leave court after Ed Buck is sentenced
Victims’ families leave court after high profile democratic donor Ed Buck is sentenced to 30 years in prison. (Los Angeles Times/ Allen J Schaben)

Ed Buck said his support of LGBT+ and animal rights should spare him prison

Ahead of his sentencing, Ed Buck referred in court to the deaths of Gemmel Moore and Timothy Dean, and offered his “condolences” to their families. He added: “Their deaths were tragic but I did not cause their deaths.”

He added that he had advocated for LGBT+ and animal rights, and asked that Snyder “take a look at my life in total”, not “the horrible caricature the government painted me as — a meth-fuelled killer”.

But his victims’ families also spoke, and asked Snyder to give Buck to maximum possible sentence.

Dean’s sister, Joann Campbell, said: “My brother was loved, caring funny and he loved life. He was more than a brother to me – he was my best friend.

“All of that was taken away from us by Ed Buck. You give this man the most severe punishment possible.”

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.”

The judge described the case as “one of the most difficult and tragic” she had ever presided over, adding: “What has happened here is reprehensible.”

After Buck’s sentencing, US attorney Tracy L Wilkison said in a statement: “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.”

Buck is scheduled to attend a restitution hearing on 16 May.

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