The regular stream of young Black males exiting Ed Buck’s West Hollywood apartment were social work clients, he informed his neighbors. What took on behind closed doors, which he dubbed the “gates of hell,” was much more frightening.
The guys did not need Buck’s assistance; rather, they needed to be rescued from him, according to federal authorities in Los Angeles. Some people barely made it out alive. Two of the males didn’t.
Buck, 67, a rich homosexual white contributor to Democratic, LGBTQ, and animal rights groups, was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison on Thursday in U.S. District Court for fatally injecting two men with deadly amounts of methamphetamine as part of a fetish.
Buck had such a contempt for life, prosecutors claimed, that even after the two deaths in his apartment, he continued to pay individuals to come to his house and inject them with massive amounts of methamphetamine. Over the course of a week, one guy overdosed twice.
“This defendant preyed upon vulnerable victims — drug-addicted individuals who were frequently homeless — to satisfy an obsession that resulted in death and suffering,” said United States Attorney Tracy L. Wilkison. “Mr. Buck continues to be a significant threat to society.”
Buck was found guilty in July of methamphetamine distribution, which resulted in the deaths of Gemmel Moore in 2017 and Timothy Dean in 2019. He was also found guilty of four charges of meth distribution, two counts of luring men over state borders for prostitution, and one count of running a drug house.
Buck eluded arrest for more than two years after Moore’s murder, and family and community members, headed by political strategist Jasmyne Cannick, said he was exempt from prosecution due to his money, political affiliations, and race. Since 2000, he has given more than $500,000 to mostly Democratic causes.
Moore’s mother, LaTisha Nixon, joined Cannick and numerous other friends and family members of the dead in requesting the maximum penalty from the court. Nixon, a licensed nursing assistant who claimed to have prayed with and comforted numerous dying individuals, sobbed as she remembered her eldest child’s death.
Nixon remarked, “All I can think of is how my baby died nude on a mattress with no affection surrounding him.” “He doesn’t have somebody to hold his hand or say him nice things.”
Mark Werksman, Buck’s defense counsel, requested a 10-year sentence, which was half of the required minimum of 20 years Buck faced and much less than the 25 years suggested by the probation department. Buck’s childhood sexual abuse and health issues that led to his drug addiction, he maintained, were mitigating circumstances.
Buck was portrayed by prosecutors as a “sociopathic syringe-wielding sexual predator and sexual deviant who preys on destitute drug-addicted male prostitutes and murders them by carelessly overdosing them on methamphetamine,” according to him.
“However, there is a second Ed Buck, a redeemable, deserving, and useful Ed Buck who merits this court’s compassion and pity,” Werksman said.
Buck made his first public statements since his arrest in September 2019, expressing regret for “my involvement in the awful deaths” of Moore and Dean, whom he described as “people he adored.” He maintained he didn’t cause their deaths, but he did express sorrow to their families, something they said he never did after they died.
Buck, who started as a model before going on to create a tiny fortune by selling an Arizona firm he saved from bankruptcy, said he sought to live a decent life by supporting political ideas that would make the world a better place.
His political engagement started in 1987 with attempts to recall Republican Arizona Governor Evan Mecham, who was impeached and forced out of office after being convicted in an impeachment trial. Buck said that in the 1980s, he founded an AIDS information group, marched for homosexual and human rights, and pushed for a ban on fur sales in West Hollywood.
“Look at the good I’ve done and the good I could still accomplish, not the horrific caricature drawn by the government as a meth-fueled ax murderer,” Buck added. “I’m not like that.”
The case, according to Judge Christina Snyder, was one of the most difficult and terrible she had ever ruled over. Buck’s “horrific deeds,” she argued, were abhorrent and more than a coincidence.
Chelsea Norell, an Assistant United States Attorney, opposed to the 30-year sentence, claiming that the required minimum terms for each death totaled 40 years.
Norell said, “He’s basically getting one kill and one kill 50 percent off.”
Dean and Moore’s family members expressed disappointment that he did not get a life sentence, but expressed relief that Buck would be gone for a long time. They said that his apology was too late to be genuine.
Joann Campbell, Dean’s sister, remarked, “Killing someone is not love.” “That was merely something he said to get compassion from the court.” But none of it convinces or convinces me.”
Buck remained undaunted even after Dean’s death, according to Norell. He injected Dane Brown with back-to-back “slams” of methamphetamine while holed up in a motel to evade the cops.
Brown, who was homeless at the time, eventually moved into Buck’s apartment, where he was injected with meth on a daily basis, often several times.
Brown was hospitalized for overdose on Sept. 4, 2019, after Buck shot him up three times with back-to-back dosages. Prosecutors claimed he had five times the amount of meth in his system as Moore and Dean did when they died.
Buck injected Brown with meth three times after he returned less than a week. Brown admitted to overdosing once again. Buck refused to call an ambulance despite his exhaustion and weakness.
Brown remembered Thursday outside the court, “I can’t run, I can’t move, and it’s like all my vitality was sucked away.”
That’s when he heard his late mother’s voice telling him to get up.
“Right as I was about to give up and shut my eyes, I heard the voice,” Brown said. “It was as though she ignited a fire and urged me to get out instantly.”
Brown was brought to the hospital after making it to a nearby petrol station. Buck was arrested as a result of the event.
Brown said that if he hadn’t gotten out of Buck’s flat, he would have died there like Moore and Dean.