A former employee of the Los Angeles Angels was given a 22-year prison term on Tuesday for giving pitcher Tyler Skaggs the chemicals that caused his Texas overdose death.
When U.S. District Judge Terry R. Means read Eric Kay’s sentence, he remained silent. Eric Kay was wearing an orange jumpsuit with handcuffs and leg shackles. On one of the two counts, Kay was subject to a minimum 20-year sentence.
The widow, mother, and family members of Skaggs, including one of his sons who made a statement on his behalf before punishment, did not respond. In case of any outbursts, onlookers will be asked to leave the court, the bailiff had warned.
The 48-year-old Kay was charged with making disparaging remarks about Skaggs, his family, the legal system, and the jury in emails and phone conversations after his conviction in February.
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On July 1, 2019, the day Skaggs was discovered dead in a suburban Dallas hotel room, there was dramatic testimony from both sides in federal court in Fort Worth, which is just 15 miles from the location where the Angels were scheduled to begin a four-game series against the Texas Rangers.
On one count of drug conspiracy and one count of drug distribution resulting in death, Kay was found guilty. Means suggested that Kay complete his sentence in his native California. Since his conviction, he has been incarcerated in Fort Worth.
According to a coroner’s report, Skaggs, 27, choked to death on his vomit and had a hazardous combination of oxycodone, alcohol, and fentanyl in his system.
In the trial, five players from the major leagues testified that Kay gave them oxycodone tablets at various times between 2017 and 2019, the years for which Kay was accused of buying pills and providing them to players at Angel Stadium. Both the testimony and the court records indicate that Kay took drugs personally.
Means said he dreaded this day from the start of the case because the 20-year minimum sentence would be thought of as being excessively harsh for the offence. Means claimed he added two years as a result of Kay’s remarks made to his family during chats in the jailhouse following the conviction.
In a taped call, Kay said the following about the Skaggs family: “They just notice dollar signs. Because he was terrible, they might make more money by having him die than by having him play.” The judge cut Kay off to cite the former public relations representative from another conversation, “Because of Tyler Skaggs, I’m here.
Well, he’s no more. So screw him.” Kay said, “That’s disgusting. “I have no idea why I said that. I was enraged about everything.” Means sounded doubtful and even remarked after delivering the sentence that he would surely draw Kay’s wrath.
“A callousness and inability to accept responsibility and even be apologetic for something that you caused,” the court remarked on Kay. The judge declared, “Tyler Skaggs wasn’t a flawless person.” But he was ultimately punished for it.
One of Kay’s three boys addressed the judge from the podium while the other two sobbed. Much as when she gave testimony during the trial, Carli Skaggs, the widow, struggled to hold back her tears. She added, “I’m not just grieving the loss of my spouse. I’m mourning my death of myself.
After Kay’s two trial attorneys were fired, the defence’s Cody Cofer asked Means to consider a sentence that was less than the mandatory 20 years. It was contested.
The Skaggs family released a statement saying, “We are very grateful to everyone who worked so hard to uncover and prosecute Eric Kay. “The defendant wasn’t given a specific number of years to serve in today’s sentencing. The true problem in this situation is keeping those responsible for selling the lethal narcotic fentanyl accountable.”
On numerous road trips, Kay represented the team’s PR department; the journey to Texas was his first after getting out of rehab. Shortly after Skaggs passed away, Kay was put on leave; she never rejoined the squad. Throughout his trial, he remained silent.
The delivery was made in Texas, fentanyl was the cause of death, and Kay was the only one who could have delivered Skaggs the narcotics that caused his death, according to the government’s case at trial. According to the prosecution, Kay supplied Skaggs with fake oxycodone pills that contained fentanyl.