Supporters of the family of Gemmel Moore, the 28-year-old found dead at the home of noted Democratic Party donor Ed Buck, are hoping recently discovered cellphones belonging to the deceased could shed light on the investigation into the young man's demise.
Moore was found dead in an apartment rented by the 62-year-old donor on July 27. Coroner's officials cited a methamphetamine overdose as the cause of death. Sheriff's officials were initially going to leave it at that but opened a homicide investigation after Moore's mother, LaTisha Nixon, alleged that Buck encouraged young men to do drugs for his enjoyment. Buck's attorney, Seymour I. Amster, has steadfastly maintained his client's innocence.
Twenty-eight-year-old Samuel Lloyd said Moore had lived with him in South L.A. on and off for about two years prior to his death. He recently moved out of that residence and found the phones while packing, he said. The ex-roommate said previously that Moore told him Ed Buck enjoyed watching young men get high. "He would need money for something or whatever,” Lloyd said of Moore.
Lloyd says Moore sent him texts expressing fear that Buck, by allegedly encouraging him to shoot up methamphetamine, was trying to kill him. He says his own phone was lost months before the case came to light. "I started clearing out his room because I was moving," Lloyd says. "I also found his birth certificate."
That Moore expressed fear of Buck is consistent with a published entry from what friends of his family said was Moore's diary: "I’ve become addicted to drugs and the worse [sic] one at that. Ed Buck is the one to thank, he gave me my first injection of chrystal [sic] meth. It was very painful but after all the troubles I became addicted to the pain and fetish/fantasy. … I just hope the end result isn’t death."
The phones said to have belonged to Moore have been turned over to civil rights attorney Nana Gyamfi, who's representing Moore's mother, Nixon. She said late yesterday that the devices were being charged overnight and that if they contain texts supporting that journal entry they will likely be turned over the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department detectives looking into the case. "We're trying to see what's on there that may be hopeful in further defining or describing what Gemmel's situation with Ed Buck was," she says.
"If there's anything there then I'll turn that information over to the cops," she says.
A sheriff's detective has declined to speak about the case. Responding to an inquiry earlier this week, he said earlier this week, "I really don't have anything to comment on."
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That's not unusual for homicide investigations. But Gyamfi is concerned the investigation is stalling. "If it weren't for people pushing the story, there wouldn't even be an investigation," she says.
Gyamfi says that at least two witnesses she brought to a sheriff's detective have been interviewed about their experiences with Buck.
Buck is an insurance services mogul who first made headlines in 1987 when he led the effort to recall then-Arizona Gov. Evan Mecham. After moving to West Hollywood he ran unsuccessfully for a seat on the local City Council. His campaign to ban fur retailing in the Westside city was a success. He's written checks to countless political campaigns and has been pictured shoulder to shoulder with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Gov. Jerry Brown.
Supporters of Moore plan to hold a community meeting Saturday at 11 a.m. at Plummer Park in West Hollywood. They plan to brief the community on the investigation.