Ed Buck waited 15 minutes to call 911 in second death at his home, coroner’s report says
The second man to die in the West Hollywood home of Democratic donor and activist Ed Buck was unresponsive for at least 15 minutes before anyone called 911, according to the man’s autopsy report.
The Los Angeles County coroner’s report, which was obtained by The Times on Friday, says Timothy Dean, 55, died Jan 7. of methamphetamine and alcohol toxicity. The death was accidental, and the drugs appeared to have been injected, according to the report.
Sheriff’s Department homicide detectives are investigating the death of Dean, who was the second man to die of a methamphetamine overdose in Buck’s home. In July 2017, Gemmel Moore, 26, died in Buck’s apartment, and Buck was present for both deaths, authorities said.
The coroner’s report refers to a male witness who was present at the time of Dean’s death but does not refer to Buck by name. But Nicole Nishida, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, said that the witness was Buck and that no one else was at the apartment.
On the morning of Dean’s death, Buck told a sheriff’s deputy that Dean “began to exhibit bizarre behavior” and used a piece of clothing to make a noose and tied it around his neck, the report states. Buck said that he removed the noose and that Dean began throwing clothes into the air.
Buck then went to take a shower, and when he returned, he found Dean unresponsive, he told the deputy.
“He relays that he attempted CPR for 15 minutes before contacting 911,” the report states.
Buck’s attorney, Seymour Amster, said the coroner’s report is not accurate about the time that elapsed.
Amster said Dean was acting strangely “but did not show signs of being a danger to himself or others” before Buck left the room. When he returned, Amster said, Buck saw Dean unresponsive on the floor and “called 911 right away.”
“When he’s on the phone with 911 is when he’s performing CPR,” Amster said. “Paramedics were being dispatched while he was on the phone.”
Paramedics pronounced Dean dead at the scene. Buck told the sheriff’s deputy that he did not see Dean taking drugs and that they did not have sex, according to the report.
Coroner’s investigator Brenda Shafer wrote that she did not find any clothing in the apartment that appeared to be fashioned like a noose.
Shafer wrote that she saw Dean’s body lying partially on a mattress on the floor of Buck’s living room, which was strewn with clothing and sex toys. Three large mirrors were propped up against the walls of the living room.
Investigators collected three sealed glass vials, three syringes and two glass pipes. One of the pipes contained methamphetamine. One of the vials was labeled “naloxone,” which is a medication used to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.
Investigators also found two pieces of thick, clear plastic tubing near Dean’s body, according to the report.
“It was posed a possibility that someone else had injected Mr. Dean with drugs,” wrote Deputy Medical Examiner Matthew J. Miller, who examined Dean’s body. “There were no signs of physical restraint or incapacitation.”
Miller wrote that the investigation included information from “other men who had previously been in the same location where Mr. Dean was found” who “reported drug use via penile injection.” That did not appear to be what happened with Dean, he wrote.
Moore’s 2017 autopsy also said that Buck’s apartment was littered with drug paraphernalia and sex toys and that methamphetamine was injected into his body. Paramedics found Moore’s body on a mattress in the living room.
Coroner’s officials ruled Moore’s death an accident, and an initial review by sheriff’s deputies found nothing suspicious. But Sheriff’s Department homicide investigators launched a new investigation after Moore’s mother and friends questioned whether the drugs that killed him were self-administered.
Buck has not been arrested in either case. Prosecutors last summer declined to file charges in Moore’s death, citing insufficient admissible evidence.
A wrongful-death lawsuit filed last month by Moore’s mother, LaTisha Nixon, said Buck preyed on black men and had solicited her son for sex numerous times. Both Moore and Dean were black, and Buck is white.
During encounters at Buck’s apartment, Nixon alleged, he insisted on injecting Moore with crystal methamphetamine and then forced him to watch pornography and perform sex acts while intoxicated.
Amster has described Moore as a “good friend” of Buck, and Dean as an “old friend.” Amster said Dean came to Buck’s home under the influence and didn’t ingest any drugs there.
Amster has said his client is a man with a “heart of gold” who invited troubled people into his home to help them.
The attorney said Friday that “the police were provided with texts” showing that Dean wanted to come over and that Buck did not want him to because he had doctor appointments the next day.
“Mr. Dean was insistent,” he said.
Dean considered Buck a friend and needed to talk to somebody about an unpleasant interaction he’d had with someone earlier in the evening, Amster said.
“They were just friends,” Amster said. “There was no sexual relationship.”
The stories shaping California
Get up to speed with our Essential California newsletter, sent six days a week.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.