Nearly three years after Los Angeles Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs was found dead in his Dallas hotel room on July 1, 2019, a jury found former team principal Eric Kay guilty of circulating fentanyl narcotics and causing the deaths of 27 -year-old .
The original autopsy, performed by Dr. Marc Krouse, former deputy chief of the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office in Texas, ruled that Skaggs choked on his vomit and that his death was an accident. Krouse, who subsequently lost his job a series of mistakes were found in several unrelated cases, testified on Thursday.
Unsurprisingly, Krouse stuck to his original statement but added that the fentanyl increased Skaggs’ chances of death, though he couldn’t say for sure it caused it. Then, on Friday, the coroner who replaced Krouse testified that Skaggs died of a fentanyl overdose. The most serious count of Kay’s trial revolved around this crucial question: What killed Skaggs? In just a few hours of deliberation, the jury sided with the government. The defense also tried to prove that Kay was not the one who supplied Skaggs with the pills, as the road trip to Texas was Kay’s first since ending a stint in rehab.
Finally, the lead prosecutor argued that the government had proved that Kay was the only one who could have given Skaggs the drugs that led to his death, told the jury how he delivered it to Texas, and said fentanyl was the cause of the death of skaggs .
Kay’s lead attorney, Michael Molfetta, said prosecutors were unable to prove that Kay had given Skaggs opioids after the team landed in Texas on a flight from California, or that fentanyl was the sole cause. Kay, who served as the Angels’ communications director, was immediately taken into custody until his scheduled sentencing on June 28.
The conviction is not the end of this saga for Kay, the Skaggs family, MLB or even Skaggs’ ex-teammates who testified in the stands this week, as Kay now faces a minimum 20-year prison term. The Skaggs family is also sue the angels for negligence in a separate civil case. The lawsuits were filed in July 2021 by Skaggs’ wife and parents in California and Texas state courts.
Ultimately, the trial led to explosive revelations about the inner workings of the Los Angeles Angels’ clubhouse and the underground drug scene. According to the prosecution, Kay used his access to players as the team’s communications director to serve as their de facto drug dealer. The defense claimed that Skaggs had several methods of purchasing opioids.
Sometime between 2017 and 2019, Skaggs became the supplier for several members of the Angels organization, who often used opioids at the clubhouse and even during matches, according to testimonies heard at the trial. On Monday, the defense presented a text message from Skaggs requesting pills from teammate Matt Harvey for wanting to be “loose goosey” before throwing.
Harvey, who testified on Tuesday that Kay provided him with oxycodone said on a number of occasions that he was a regular cocaine user until he met Skaggs as a member of the Angels. Skaggs introduced him to oxycodone, which he started taking with Percocet.
Harvey, who was granted immunity by the government in exchange for his testimony, also said he had been given a 30-milligram blue oxycodone pill from Kay the day before Skaggs’ death. After deciding not to take the pill that night, Harvey went home. The next day, Harvey learned of Skaggs’ death and threw the blue pill into his locker. As a result of his testimony, Harvey may face a… 60-day suspension from Major League Baseball†
The Angels conducted an independent investigation into Skaggs’ death, which found that management “did not know that Tyler was taking opioids, nor that anyone in management knew or was aware of an employee providing opioids to a player.” .”