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Watch: Ed Buck, Suspect in Two Deadly Meth Overdoses, Denied Bail

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Tuesday September 29, 2020

A West Hollywood resident suspected in the overdose deaths of two African-American men has been denied bail, local news channel CBSLA reports.

The lawyer for Ed Buck, 66, had sought Buck's release on bail, expressing concerns about the prevalence of COVID-19 in the U.S. correctional system. Buck is scheduled to go to trial in January on charges that he administered injections of meth to two men who died in his apartment, as well as to a third man who fled Buck's home and survived. He faces nine charges in all, as well as allegations that he derived "sexual gratification" from injecting African-American men with the drug.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Rozella A. Oliver denied the request, saying there was no proof that Buck was at elevated risk of contracting COVID-19 and positing that Buck was too much of a flight risk.

If his lawyer's request had been granted, Buck would have awaited trial under house arrest and electronic monitoring. But Buck's home, victims' advocate Jasmyne Cannick told the press, "is where his crimes were committed," reports UK newspaper the Daily Mail.

"Home is where his drugs were delivered to," Cannick added. "Home is where he was injecting people and sexually assaulting people. Home is where two Black men died."

The Daily Mail recounted how in July of 2017, Gemmel Moore, a 26-year-old escort, was found dead at Buck's home of a meth overdose. A second man, 55-year-old Timothy Michael Dean, was found dead in Buck's home in January of 2019, also of a meth overdose. Buck, through his lawyer, denied having injected the men.

Buck was not arrested until after a third incident involving an African-American man in September of 2019. Community leaders had questioned why Buck was not placed under arrest after the two fatalities.

Other men have stepped forward to claim that Buck also injected them, the Associated Press reported after Buck's arrest. The men allege that Buck "encouraged them to take drugs or injected them himself — some against their will and others who said they woke up to being injected or suspected they had been given a powerful drug before passing out," the AP said.

As previously reported at EDGE, conservative media outlets seized on the story's "Democratic donor" angle after Cannick reached out to them.

"Right-wing media showed an appetite," reported The New York Times Magazine earlier this month, "and Cannick, knowing she was abetting a political machine whose goals she did not share, but wanting to pressure the D.A.'s office, began appearing on Fox News to talk about the case."

Stories about Buck being a "megadonor" to Democratic candidates began to circulate. That story, however, was "exaggerated," the New York Times Magazine noted; "Among California Democrats, he was marginal — and that was being generous. Nationally, he was a nobody."

Watch the CBSLA news clip below.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.