Delvonn Heckard had been in recovery for addiction to cocaine and other illicit drugs when he sued Ed Murray, alleging the former Seattle mayor had repeatedly paid him for sex in the late 1980s when he was a teenager.
KIRO Radio was first to report that multiple sources confirmed that Delvonn Heckard, who came forward with a lawsuit last April to accuse Murray of sex abuse, had died.
The King County Medical Examiner on Friday afternoon confirmed Heckard’s death but did not disclose details of the cause.
Lincoln Beauregard, one of the attorneys who represented Heckard, told KIRO that he had heard the news from someone close to Heckard as well. Beauregard also tweeted “A hero died today,” Friday morning.
“He really stepped up,” Beauregard said on The Dori Monson Show Friday afternoon. “I’m so proud of him.”
According to the KIRO report, 47-year-old Heckard may have died of a drug overdose at a motel in Auburn, also the scene of a fire Friday morning.
Last April, Heckard brought the first of what would become five public accusations of child sex abuse against Murray. Heckard said Murray had paid him for sex dozens of times in the 1980s, starting when Heckard was 15 and Murray would have been in his 30s.
Murray, then ramping up his campaign for re-election, denied the accusations and said he didn’t know Heckard. Instead, Murray and his attorney argued that Heckard — and later, the other accusers — was part of a conspiracy by conservative forces to run him out of office. He referred to Heckard as a “troubled” person and suggested his history of mental health issues and criminal record made him an unreliable witness.
Speaking on The Dori Monson Show Friday afternoon on KIRO Radio, Beauregard said the experience was extremely difficult for Heckard.
“The energy I got from him was that was as hard or harder than what had happened years ago,” Beauregard told Monson. “Time does heal some wounds, but when you’re talking about these kind of wounds, to sit back and then know you’ve been painted as a liar about something that was already painful to you, for him was as painful as anything.”
Murray ended his bid for re-election in May, after a fourth accuser had come forward. After a fifth accuser came forward in September — Murray’s cousin — Murray resigned from office.
Heckard had dropped his initial suit in June, but then filed a new claim in October. The city settled that suit for $150,000 in December.