Nearly nine months after Ed Buck was convicted of all nine charges in the overdose-related deaths of two Black men in his home, the political donor was sentenced in U.S. District Court on Thursday to 30 years in federal prison for injecting the two men with lethal doses of methamphetamine as a part of a fetish, according to NBC News.
The 67-year-old Buck was a big donor to Democratic, LGBTQ and animal rights causes throughout his life. Since 2008, he donated more than $53,000 to Democratic candidates, but after he was charged, many of those candidates returned the donations.
Even after the death of Gemmel Moore and Timothy Dean, who were both found dead in his California home, Buck did not stop injecting young gay men with deadly doses of meth.
Buck had a fetish for luring gay Black men to his home, injecting them with methamphetamine and exploiting them for sexual favors. In July 2021, he was found guilty on every charge in his nine-count indictment. Some of the charges included: maintaining a drug den, two counts of distribution of controlled substances resulting in death and enticement to cross state lines to engage in prostitution.
Buck wasn’t arrested until a third Black man overdosed in his home and lived to tell the story.
Prosecutors in Los Angeles were seeking a life sentence for Buck, arguing that he preyed on vulnerable, young Black men to please his sexual fetish. Buck’s attorneys argued for a sentence lower than 25 years so he could receive rehabilitation, according to NBC News.
The federal prosecutors clearly weren’t going for that.
From NBC News:
U.S. District Judge Christina A. Snyder said Thursday in downtown Los Angeles that the sentencing decision was difficult because she had to balance the good Buck did in his life with “horrific crimes” that she called “more than just an accident.”
Gemelle Moore, 26, was found dead of an overdose in Buck’s apartment in July 2017. Less than two years later, in January 2019, Timothy Dean was found dead in the same residence.
Prosecutors said after Buck’s conviction that he “exploited the wealth and power balance” between the men and himself. They said he specifically targeted the unhoused and destitute to exploit them sexually.
In a court filing before sentencing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Chelsea Norell said Buck “spent thousands of dollars on drugs and party and play sessions that destroyed lives and bred insidious addictions.”
In court, Buck insisted to Judge Snyder that he loved men and was not responsible for the deaths saying, “Their deaths were tragic, but I did not cause their deaths,” according to NBC News.
In a statement, U.S. Attorney Tracy Wilkison said, “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.”
Moore’s mother, LaTisha Nixon, said in a letter, according to NBC News, “All I can think about is how my son died naked on a mattress with no love around him. No one to hold his hand or tell him good things.”
While Buck’s conviction and sentencing brought justice to Moore, Dean and their families, it is yet a terrible example of how some of the most vulnerable people in the Black community can be exploited by people in power.