FORT WORTH — Eric Kay, a former communications director for the Los Angeles Angels, was discovered responsible on each fees for his function within the loss of life of pitcher Tyler Skaggs in 2019.
Kay was accused of offering Skaggs with the opioid fentanyl, which was decided to have induced Skaggs’s loss of life at age 27 in a lodge close to Dallas. A jury of 10 girls and two males discovered Kay responsible of conspiracy to own with intent to distribute a managed substance and conspiracy to own with intent to distribute a managed substance leading to loss of life and critical bodily damage. With the decision, Kay faces the opportunity of a long time in jail.
Skaggs’s widow, Carli, cried as she exited the courtroom, as did Kay’s mom, Sandy.
“I’m in shock,” Sandy Kay mentioned shortly after the decision was learn.
Eric Kay’s sentencing is scheduled for June 28. His lawyer, Reagan Wynn, mentioned an attraction can be labored out nearer to the sentencing date.
The trial shined a lightweight on drug use amongst Main League Baseball gamers, a number of of whom, when testifying, admitted to buying opioids by way of Kay and taking them recreationally. Matt Harvey, a former pitcher for the Mets who was a teammate of Skaggs’s with the Angels in 2019, mentioned his personal cocaine use, in addition to his use of opioids. He and others portrayed Kay as a workforce worker who was identified for having the ability to get gamers the medicine they sought, at the same time as he dealt together with his personal habit to drugs.
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Whereas Harvey, 32, who admitted to sharing opioids with Skaggs, was given immunity in alternate for his testimony, he might nonetheless face self-discipline from M.L.B. He’s a free agent after spending the 2021 season with the Baltimore Orioles.
Skaggs, who, a number of witnesses testified, had an habit to the opioid Percocet earlier in his profession, was mentioned to have despatched a number of of his teammates to Kay over time so Kay might purchase medicine for them. Federal prosecutors mentioned Skaggs’s loss of life got here on account of drugs offered to him by Kay that seemed like oxycodone however have been really fentanyl, a extra highly effective opioid. A medical expert and a number of other toxicologists testified that it was the fentanyl in Skaggs’s system that led to his loss of life.
Whereas Kay’s legal professionals stipulated their shopper’s habit to opioids, and admitted he had beforehand lied about whether or not he had seen Skaggs on the night time he died, their protection centered on the shortcoming to know for sure if medicine offered by Kay led to Skaggs’s loss of life, in addition to the chain of custody of Skaggs’s cellphone. They believed that messages on Skaggs’s cellphone have been deleted by members of Skaggs’s household earlier than the cellphone may very well be inspected by authorities and that these messages might probably have incriminated another person.
“This case was reverse engineered,” mentioned Michael Molfetta, a lawyer for Kay. “They mentioned, ‘Eric is the man, and we’re going to get him.’”
Kay selected to not testify.
The closing arguments on Thursday concluded with either side acknowledging the tragedy of Skaggs’s loss of life, whereas disagreeing on the duty for it. Prosecutors mentioned the case was about “one particular person,” that means Kay, and that it was Kay’s actions that induced Skaggs’s loss of life. Kay’s legal professionals contended that Skaggs obtained medicine from different sources and that whereas he didn’t need to die, he was solely liable for his personal loss of life.
Marina Trahan Martinez reported from Fort Price, and Benjamin Hoffman from Connecticut.