Nearly two years after he was arrested, Democratic Donor Ed Buck was convicted today of nine felonies which involved the overdose deaths of two men. According to the prosecution, Buck would lure black men into his home and then inject them with meth in exchange for sex. Two of the men died and a third, who testified at the trial, survived because he was able to walk to a nearby gas station to call for help:
During the trial, Dane Brown testified that he had overdosed in Buck’s apartment twice in one week in September 2019. He told investigators he had been living in a hotel on Skid Row when he met Buck on Adam4Adam, a gay dating and escort site, and moved in with him for part of summer 2019.
Brown said Buck injected him with meth nearly daily for five weeks, according to court documents. After his second overdose, Brown said Buck refused to call an ambulance and Brown was forced to call 911 at a nearby gas station.
“I didn’t think I was going to believed,” Brown said after the verdict. “Walking out of that house, I didn’t know what was going to happen next.”
There is some question about why it took two years to arrest Buck after the first death in his home back in 2017. The LA Times reported in 2019 that police who searched his home found drugs and other evidence that implicated him:
Los Angeles County sheriff’s detectives found nearly two grams of methamphetamine, syringes and drug paraphernalia throughout the residence. The dead man, Gemmel Moore, had written diary entries in which he said Buck got him addicted to meth.
In the weeks that followed, as activists from the black and LGBTQ communities contended that Buck was a dangerous predator, two more men came forward and told investigators Buck had pumped methamphetamine into their bodies against their will, court records show.
But DA Jackie Lacey declined to prosecute the case (she had received one donation of $100 from Buck). She said that hearsay rules would have made the diary inadmissible. That meant prosecutors would have had to prove that Moore’s death was caused by Buck’s drugs when the only person alive who could testify about the circumstances was Buck. If he had denied the drugs were his or that he’d injected Moore, there wouldn’t be much the DA could offer to contradict him.
Still, it’s not clear why the DA couldn’t have brought lesser charges, such as involuntary manslaughter or drug possession, to at least lock Buck up. Between the time Moore died in 2017 and when Dane Brown escaped Buck’s apartment in 2019 another man died from an overdose in Buck’s house.
Overall, Buck gave more than $500,000 to Democratic politicians. The LA Times put together a list of California recipients of the money. Rep. Ted Lieu, Rep Adam Schiff, Xavier Becerra, Gavin Newsom and Eric Garcetti were all on the list. Buck also gave money to Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
Here’s a local news report from before Buck was arrested.