Mom reacts to Ed Buck conviction in fatal overdoses of Black gay men

EXCLUSIVE: Multimillionaire political donor Edward Buck was found guilty on nine counts involving the crystal meth overdose deaths of Moore and Timothy Dean

On the four-year anniversary of Gemmel Moore’s death, a Los Angeles jury unanimously voted to convict Edward Buck as being responsible for his death. Moore was found dead in Buck’s home following a crystal meth overdose July, 27, 2017. 

In 2019, Ed Buck was arrested and charged with nine counts including enticement to travel in interstate commerce for prostitution, four counts of distribution of methamphetamine, one count of maintaining a drug-involved premise, as well as two counts of providing drugs resulting in death.

“I’m happy. I’m glad this is over and I’m glad we got justice” LaTisha Nixon, Moore’s mother, told theGrio in Downtown Los Angeles after the verdict was read Tuesday afternoon.

LaTisha Nixon and son Gemmel Moore; Ed Buck,
Left to right: LaTisha Nixon and son Gemmel Moore; Ed Buck (Photo: Facebook/AP News)

The charges against Buck did not come after a second man, Timothy Dean, was recovered from Buck’s West Hollywood apartment in 2019, also dead from a meth overdose. 

It was only until a third man, Dane Brown, almost died in Buck’s apartment that was he finally arrested.

“It was the Ed Buck train. He was the conductor and used his money and influence to use human beings as personal sextools,” prosecutors told jurors during closing arguments. 

Brown was one of several who testified this week against Ed Buck, detailing a world of pay to play, where Buck used his money to lure mostly vulnerable Black men to his West Hollywood apartment. Buck would offer to inject these men with meth, in exchange for money. 

Many agreed because they needed money, or a place to stay such as Brown, who testified that he allowed Buck to inject him with meth several times a day at his apartment because he felt like that was how he “earned his keep,” while staying with Buck, who had a fetish in which he liked to see how their body reacted to meth. 

Brown described how he would wake up with Ed Buck playing with his genitals, as his body fought reactions from the drug and he came in and out of consciousness. 

Moore’s mother LaTisha Nixon did not know that after her son caught a flight to Los Angeles from Texas, she would never see him alive again. Moore had met Buck on a gay dating app and once he allowed Buck to inject him with meth, his body fiend for the drugs. Buck bought Moore a ticket to Los Angeles, and a few hours after picking Moore up from LAX, he was phoning police reporting his death.

It did not take long for Nixon to find out the truth of what happened to her son, written in his own words in a small journal released back to her with his belongings. 

“I pray that I can just get my life together. I help so many people but can’t seem to help myself. I don’t know what to do. I have become addicted to drugs and the worst one at that, 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.”

Gemmel was only 26.

His mother sought help in bringing attention to her son’s case and wondered why police did not enter the journal into evidence and begin building a case against Ed Buck. Nixon would soon be united with a long-time journalist in Los Angeles, named Jasmyne Cannick, who would play a huge role in not only shedding light on Buck but his arrest and subsequent conviction.

Nixon says one of the most painful parts of the trial was the victim shaming on behalf of Buck’s attorney, Chris Darden — who famously prosecuted the infamous O.J. Simpson murder case. The defense argued that Moore and Dean did not die from meth, but from heart failure and aids complications. 

When asked why he chose to represent Ed Buck, Darden said  “I feel like this is my calling. I believe in the constitution, I believe it applies to everyone. Everyone has the right to a competent lawyer. Justice applies to everyone. Sinners or saints. Even Jesus prayed for the incarcerated. We can’t insist on our rights and exclude others.”

Attorney Christopher Darden
Attorney Christopher Darden (L) on April 4, 2019 in courtroom in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Francine Orr-Pool/Getty Images)

Nixon says she did not appreciate the misrepresentations and labels in the media of her son being only labeled as an escort because he was so much more than that. Nixon also says that her son was not homeless. 

“My son lived with me until the day he died. He was a good person who got mixed up in the middle of this mess. I’m not just saying that because he was my son. He had a bright future ahead of him,” Nixon said. 

She says this experience really opened her eyes to a lot of the issues that LGBTQ youth experience. She encourages others to not be judgemental and believe similar issues could never happen to them.

“Just be mindful and make sure to check on your kids who are LGBTQ. They go through a lot,” she expressed. 

“People reached out to me about Gemmel’s case saying their parents did not want to deal with them and they got on drugs because of issues with their family. Don’t be afraid to seek help.”

Now that the trial is over, Nixon is focused on healing, which was very hard for her to do during this process. 

“I couldn’t heal the way I needed to heal because of this. I can focus on my family, my children, getting us closer together and focus on healing.”

A sentencing date has not yet been announced.

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