Former LA Angels Employee Gets 22 Years in Pitcher's Death

Judge added 2 years because of remarks Eric Kay made about Tyler Skaggs
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 17, 2022 5:46 PM CST
Updated Oct 11, 2022 7:14 PM CDT
Team Employee Convicted in Death of Tyler Skaggs
Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs talks with catcher Martin Maldonado after warming up during a spring training game in Glendale, Ariz., in 2017.   (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

Update: Former Los Angeles Angels staff member Eric Kay has been sentenced to 22 years in federal prison for giving pitcher Tyler Skaggs the drugs that killed him. District Judge Terry Means said he was sentencing Eric Kay, the team's former communications director, to two years over the statutory minimum because of remarks the 48-year-old made in phone calls and emails from prison after his February conviction, the Washington Post reports. In a conversation prosecutors played in court, Kay said of Skaggs: "I hope people realize what a piece of s--- he is," adding, "Well, he's dead, so f--- him." In the calls, which were monitored and recorded, Kay also referred to the "trash-ass Skaggs family" and described jurors as "rednecks" with missing teeth, per the Post. Our story from Feb. 17 follows:

A Texas jury found a former Los Angeles Angels staff member guilty Thursday in the 2019 overdose death of pitcher Tyler Skaggs. After deliberating for less than three hours, the US District Court jury in Fort Worth convicted Eric Kay of distributing an opioid laced with fentanyl that caused Skaggs' death, USA Today reports. The Angels were playing in Arlington at the time of Skaggs' overdose. The player's family thanked prosecutors and the jury, per CBS Sports. "We are relieved that justice was served, although today is a painful reminder of the worst day in the life of our family," the statement said.

Kay, who faces a minimum of 20 years in federal prison, is scheduled to be sentenced June 28. The charges were distribution of controlled substances resulting in death and conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances, per CNN. During the trial this week, eight of Skaggs' teammates testified that Kay had given them opioids. The jury also heard that the player had gotten drugs from another source, as well. Skaggs, 27, died in his hotel room. "This case is a sobering reminder: Fentanyl kills," the federal prosecutor said. (More opioids stories.)

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