Ed Buck: Political donor gets 30 years in prison for fatally injecting 2 men with drugs
Democratic megadonor Ed Buck was sentenced to 30 years in prison on Thursday, April 14, for fatally injecting two gay men with methamphetamine in exchange for sex. Judge Christina A. Snyder said the sentencing decision was difficult as she had to take into account Buck's philanthropic work supporting LGBTQ and animal rights causes, as well as his “horrific crimes” that she called “more than just an accident".
Prosecutors sought a life sentence for the 67-year-old, saying that he was a sexual predator who preyed on innocent men, who were often young, Black, homeless and addicted to drugs who had become engaged in sex work to run their lives. The defense requested a 10-year sentence, noting that Buck had been sexually abused as a kid and that he got addicted to drugs due to health problems.
Buck was convicted last July in the deaths of 26-year-old Gemmel Moore and 55-year-old Timothy Dean. Despite the death of the two men, the political activist injected more men with alarming doses of meth and also sexually assaulted them while they were unconscious. Buck was arrested in 2019 after one of his victims, Dane Brown, survived after being repeatedly injected by Buck. Brown, however, lived to narrate his ordeal, ultimately leading to Buck's arrest.
Buck had reportedly bought a plane ticket for Moore, who was Black, so he could fly from Texas to Los Angeles to “party and play” with him. After Moore's death, his family and activists rallied outside his apartment, calling for his arrest. They claimed that Buck's political connections, wealth and race allowed him to evade arrest. While Buck was still under investigation for Moore's death, Dean died in his apartment from a meth overdose. However, Buck evaded arrest even after the second man's death.
Brown revealed before Buck's arrest that he moved in with the man in 2019 after the two met on Adam4Adam, a gay dating and escort site. Brown, who had been homeless, said that he was injected by Buck daily for as many as five weeks. Brown overdosed twice in a week. He claimed that after his second overdose, Buck refused to call an ambulance and Brown subsequently managed to call 911 at a nearby gas station.
“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,” Assistant US Attorney Chelsea Norell said in a court filing. “He spent thousands of dollars on drugs and party and play sessions that destroyed lives and bred insidious addictions.” Buck claimed that he loved both the men and that their deaths were not his fault. “Their deaths were tragic but I did not cause their deaths,” Buck said.