The second man to die in Democratic donor Ed Buck’s West Hollywood home died of a methamphetamine overdose, authorities confirmed Monday.
The Jan. 7 death of Timothy Dean, 55, was ruled accidental, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
“Sheriff’s homicide investigators are continuing their investigation into the death of Timothy Dean,” department spokeswoman Nicole Nishida said.
Investigators will continue interviewing people who come forward with information, she said.
Dean, a West Hollywood resident, worked as a fashion consultant at Saks Fifth Avenue, and previously, at Bloomingdale’s in Century City. His friends previously told The Times that Dean didn’t drink excessively and wasn’t known to do drugs.
He was the second black man to die of a methamphetamine overdose in Buck’s apartment. Buck, 64, who is white, is a former fashion model, self-described retired multimillionaire and onetime West Hollywood City Council candidate. He has long been a contentious figure in town, where he was best known for his animal rights and LGBTQ activism, and his donations to Democratic politicians and causes.
In July 2017, Gemmel Moore, a 26-year-old openly gay man, died in Buck’s home, which was littered with drug paraphernalia, including 24 syringes with brown residue, five glass pipes with white residue and burn marks, clear plastic bags with white powdery residue and a clear plastic bag with a “piece of crystal-like substance,” according to the coroner’s report.
Authorities say Buck was present for both deaths.
The Times reviewed pages of a journal that authorities said was found among Moore’s possessions. In it, Moore purportedly wrote in 2016 about using crystal methamphetamine.
“I’ve become addicted to drugs and the worst one at that,” Moore purportedly wrote. “Ed Buck is the one to thank, he gave me my first injection of chrystal [sic] meth.”
The entry continues: “I just hope the end result isn’t death.... If it didn’t hurt so bad I’d kill myself but I’ll let Ed Buck do it for now.”
Moore’s death was also ruled accidental.
Prosecutors last summer declined to file charges against Buck regarding Moore’s death, citing insufficient evidence, according to court records. In a charge evaluation worksheet dated July 26, the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office said the “admissible evidence is insufficient to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that suspect Buck furnished drugs to Gemmel Moore or that suspect Buck possessed drugs.”
The document also cited an inadmissible search and seizure but did not provide details.
The district attorney’s office reviewed and rejected four charges: murder, voluntary manslaughter, and furnishing and possessing drugs.
In the wrongful-death lawsuit filed by Moore’s mother, LaTisha Nixon said that Buck preyed on black men and that he had solicited her son for sex numerous times. During the encounters, she alleged, Buck insisted on injecting Moore with crystal methamphetamine and then forced him to watch pornography and perform sex acts while intoxicated.
Buck’s attorney, Seymour Amster, has described Moore as a “good friend” of Buck, and Dean as an “old friend.”
Amster said in a phone interview Monday evening that Dean came to Buck’s home under the influence and didn’t ingest any drugs while there.
“We stand by our position that unfortunately Mr. Dean ingested drugs at a location other than Mr. Buck’s, and he came over intoxicated, and it’s a tragedy,” Amster said Monday.
Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey said in a statement released by her office earlier this month that she has asked the Sheriff’s Department to continue to thoroughly investigate the deaths of Moore and Dean.
Lacey said some people have insinuated that a $100 donation she received from Buck during her 2012 election campaign, which she has since returned, has tainted her ability to be impartial in whether criminal charges are warranted against Buck.
“Nothing could be further from the truth,” Lacey said in the statement. “Every life, regardless of a person’s age, race, economic status and even whether they use illegal drugs, has value. If that life is lost because of the unlawful actions of another, rest assured that my office will do everything possible to bring the perpetrator to justice.”
Times staff writers Matt Hamilton and Hailey Branson-Potts contributed to this report.