WEST HOLLYWOOD—Prosecutors are reviewing a drug overdose case involving Gemmel Moore, 26, who died inside the West Hollywood home of Democratic donor Ed Buck, 63. On July 27, 2017, Moore died from a drug overdose on methamphetamine inside Buck’s home which was littered with drug paraphernalia and sex toys.
The death was initially classified as accidental by the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department. According to the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office, the case was re-opened as an abundance of caution, after Moore’s family demanded a thorough investigation.
Moore’s family and friends indicate they suspected foul play after reading his journal along with text messages and emails exchanged between Moore and Buck. One email showed Buck sent Moore an airplane ticket to travel from Houston, Texas to Los Angeles, the day before his death. Journal entries stated that Moore used drugs with Buck. According to reports, Moore was working as a male prostitute.
“Ed Buck needs to be stopped,” stated LaTisha Nixon, Moore’s mother, during an appeal for a renewed homicide investigation. “I just want you guys to put pressure on whoever needs pressure.” Moore’s mother questioned whether Buck’s ties to elected officials and differences in race and class influenced the first investigation regarding her son’s death.
Nixon spoke to the West Hollywood City Council in August 2017 where she said, “We have a lot of victims that have came forward. We have more information, but we need immunity for these people because some of the charges by them testifying could be felonies. I should not even been here before you guys. I feel if the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Department did a thorough investigation. ”
“I am asking for justice for my son,” Nixon added. “Ed Buck needs to be stopped. He needs some help, he needs to be stopped.”
Ed Buck’s attorney, Seymour Amster addressed the West Hollywood City Council on September 18, 2017, stating: “We sent in a request to have an investigation done against councilmember [Lindsey] P. Hovarth for violation of Ethics rule 522.” “Mr. Buck has not been accused of anything,” added Amster. Buck ran for a seat on the West Hollywood City Council in 2017, but was unsuccessful.
Hovarth responded by stating, “Gemmel Moore was 26 year-old at the time of his passing. By all accounts he was a thoughtful and caring person.” She added, “I hope Gemmel Moore’s family and friends find the justice they are seeking.”
Journalist Jasmyne Cannick comprised a list of campaigns that received donations from Buck which included California Governor Jerry Brown, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and West Hollywood Mayor Pro Tem John J. Duran.
According to the Justice4Gemmel website, Gemmel wrote in his journal:
“I honestly don’t know what to do. I’ve become addicted to drugs and the worst one at that,” a December entry reads. “Ed Buck is the one to thank. He gave me my first injection of crystal meth it was very painful, but after all the troubles, I became addicted to the pain and fetish/fantasy.”
“My life is at an alltime [sic] high right now & I mean that from all ways. I ended up back at Buck [sic] house again and got munipulated [sic] into slamming again. I even went to the point where I was forced to doing 4 within a 2day [sic] period. This man is crazy and its [sic] sad. Will I ever get help?”
Moore’s last entry was dated December 3, 2016, which read: “If it didn’t hurt so bad, I’d kill myself, but I’ll let Ed Buck do it for now.”
Moore’s family held a vigil for him in West Hollywood on August 18, 2017. That same day Representative Karen Bass released the following statement:
“I’m stunned by the news of Gemmel’s death and the tragic and sad circumstances surrounding it. Nine years ago, I received a $250.00 contribution from Edward Buck. I do not know him, but what I am hearing and reading about his conduct with Gemmel is deeply disturbing. If there are other victims, they should come forward immediately. It is my hope that law enforcement is prepared to investigate and prosecute to the fullest extent of the law. My thoughts are with the friends and family of Gemmel this evening.”
After the reopening of the case and reviewing the autopsy report, Buck’s attorney indicated that he is maintaining his statement of not witnessing Moore’s injection.
“This was an unfortunate situation, this was a tragedy,” said Buck’s attorney Seymour Amster to NBC 4 News. “But it does not justify accusing an innocent man of things that did not happen.”
The case was presented to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office on July 10, 2018. They will determine if there’s enough evidence for Buck to face criminal charges.
Written By Akira Johnson and Donald Roberts