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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Man who sued ex-Seattle mayor over sex abuse claims died of overdose

Associated Press

SEATTLE – A 47-year-old man who sued former Seattle Mayor Ed Murray over sexual abuse claims that effectively ended Murray’s political career died of an accidental overdose of illegal and prescription drugs.

The King County Medical Examiner’s Office said Monday that Delvonn Heckard died from “acute combined cocaine, opiate (heroin), Alprazolam and Diazepam intoxication,” the Seattle Times reported.

Heckard was found unresponsive Feb. 16 after a friend called 911 to report he was unconscious in an Auburn motel room, according to police reports. Fire medics responded and tried to resuscitate him, but Heckard was pronounced dead at the scene.

Inside the motel room, investigators found what appeared to be heroin residue and paraphernalia, as well as several bottles of prescription medications for depression and anxiety. Authorities withheld an official cause and manner of Heckard’s death pending toxicology tests.

Heckard’s lawsuit filed in 2017 claimed Murray raped and molested him as a teen. Other men subsequently came forward with similar claims.

Murray was in his first term as mayor when he resigned in Sept. 12, hours after his younger cousin became the fifth man to publicly accuse Murray of sexual abuse decades ago.

Murray has denied all the allegations.

Heckard’s death came about six weeks after the City of Seattle agreed to pay him and his legal team $150,000 to drop a lawsuit against Murray and the city.

Heckard received $100,000, and his lawyers donated the rest to programs helping sexual abuse survivors. Heckard’s attorney, Lincoln Beauregard, said he set up a trust account for Heckard so he wouldn’t spend the money too quickly.

A year ago, when he sued the Democratic mayor, Heckard was participating in several recovery programs for years of addiction to cocaine and other drugs.

Another accuser – Murray’s former foster son, Jeff Simpson – filed a claim in February for damages against the city seeking more than $1 million. As with Heckard’s claim, Simpson also contends the city enabled Murray to use his public office and city resources to defame his accusers while he publicly denied their allegations last year.