Eric Kay Sentenced To 22 Years In Prison Over Death Of Tyler Skaggs

Eric Kay had been convicted in February of contributing to the death of the pitcher Tyler Skaggs by providing him with opioids.

Eric Kay, a former Los Angeles Angels employee, was sentenced to 22 years in federal prison on Tuesday for having provided drugs to the pitcher Tyler Skaggs that led to his overdose death in Texas.

Kay, 48, who was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Terry R. Means in Fort Worth, had faced at least 20 years in prison after being convicted in February of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance and conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance resulting in death and serious bodily injury.

According to The Associated Press, Kay, dressed in an orange jumpsuit with handcuffs and leg shackles, did not react when the judge read his sentence. There was also no visible reaction from Skaggs’s widow and his mother or members of Kay’s family.

Skaggs’s family issued a statement following the sentencing.

“We are very grateful to everyone who worked so hard to investigate and prosecute Eric Kay,” the statement said. “Today’s sentencing isn’t about the number of years the defendant received. The real issue in this case is holding accountable the people who are distributing the deadly drug fentanyl. It is killing tens of thousands of people every year in our country and destroying families along with it.

“We will continue the fight to hold responsible those who allowed Kay to provide a deadly drug to Tyler. But for their actions, Tyler would still be with us today.”

At the sentencing hearing, prosecutors introduced some of Kay’s jailhouse calls and emails into evidence in hopes of demonstrating Kay’s lack of remorse.

In the calls and emails, Kay attacked Skaggs’s character, mocked the Skaggs family, demeaned the jury that convicted him and implied the entire proceeding was an attempt by the Skaggs family to get money in a civil suit.

“All they see are dollar signs,” Kay said. “They may get more money with him dead than he was playing.”

The trial, which had played out over two weeks in February, explored drug use among Major League Baseball players, several of whom, when testifying, admitted to acquiring opioids through Kay. Matt Harvey, a former pitcher for the Mets who was a teammate of Skaggs’s with the Angels in 2019, discussed his own cocaine use, as well as his use of opioids. He and others portrayed Kay as a team employee who was known for being able to get players the drugs they sought, even as he dealt with his own addiction to pills.

Skaggs, who, multiple witnesses testified, had an addiction to the opioid Percocet earlier in his career, was said to have sent teammates to Kay over the years so Kay could acquire drugs for them.

Federal prosecutors said Skaggs’s death in a hotel room in July 2019 came as a result of choking to death on his vomit as a result of pills provided to him by Kay that looked like oxycodone but were actually fentanyl, a more powerful opioid. A medical examiner and several toxicologists testified that it was the fentanyl in Skaggs’s system that led to his death.

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