Former baseball staffer jailed for 22 years after star’s overdose death

Eric Kay was found guilty of distributing a controlled substance

Eric Kay, the former Los Angeles Angels communications director who was convicted of distributing a controlled substance to deceased former Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs, was sentenced to 22 years in prison on Tuesday for his crime.

Skaggs died at the age of 27 on July 1, 2019, while on a team trip to Texas. The Los Angeles native choked on his own vomit, and an autopsy revealed traces of alcohol, oxycodone and fentanyl in his system.

During Kay’s trial, government prosecutors presented evidence showing how he distributed the pills to Skags, including a 30-milligram oxycodone tablet containing fentanyl.

Drug Enforcement Administration special agent Geoffrey Lindenberg said a medical examiner determined that “but for fentanyl” in the Skaggs system, the pitcher “wouldn’t have died”.

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A number of former Angels players, including Matt Harvey, CJ Cron, Mike Morin and Cameron Bedrosian, said Kay also supplied them with oxycodone pills, leading a jury to quickly find him guilty of two charges.

Reacting to Kay’s sentencing, Skaggs’ family said they were grateful to those responsible for investigating and prosecuting the 48-year-old.

“Today’s sentence is not about how many years the defendant has received. The real issue in this case is holding accountable those who distribute the deadly drug fentanyl,” says their statement.

“It kills tens of thousands of people each year in our country and destroys families with it. We will continue the fight to hold accountable those who allowed Kay to supply Tyler with a deadly drug. But for their actions, Tyler would still be with us today.

Kay’s legal team had argued that Skaggs and Kay were fellow drug addicts with an agreement that Skaggs would fund their drugs while Kay handled the transactions, ESPN reported earlier this year.

After the trial, Kay was recorded making derogatory remarks about Skaggs, his family and the jury that found him guilty during jail calls and emails presented in court on Tuesday.

“I hope people realize how shitty he is. Well, he’s dead, so f*** ’em. Kay told her mother, as CNN reports.

Kay called Skaggs family “dumb” and “white trash can,”and the jury that convicted him in February “fat, sloppy, toothless and jobless.”

In court this week, Kay said he regretted making the comments and was “selfish”. “Tyler Skaggs was a one man lover,” Kay affirmed.

Judge Terry R. Means revealed he added an additional two years to the 20-year minimum sentence due to Kay’s insulting remarks.

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Fans pay tribute to MLB pitcher Tyler Skaggs (right), of the Los Angeles Angels © Gary A Vasquez / USA TODAY Sports |  © Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports
Former Los Angeles Angels employee could face LIFE in prison after being CHARGED for giving drugs to pitcher who DIED of overdose

“What I see coming out of your mouth…was not just vitriol but callousness and a refusal to accept responsibility or even feel remorse for something you caused,” Means said.

Kay’s attorney requested the minimum sentence because Kay was facing 20 years to life in prison for distributing a controlled substance causing death and conspiring to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances.

The Angels franchise said its compassion “goes to the Skaggs family on this difficult day”, through spokesperson Marie Garvey.

In a statement, U.S. Attorney Chad E. Meacham said the Skaggs family learned the hard way how a fentanyl pill can kill.

“That’s why our office is committed to holding accountable anyone who sells illicit opioids, whether they operate in backstreets or world-class stadiums,” Meacham added.

“Mr. Skaggs did not deserve to die this way. No one does. We hope this sentence brings some comfort to his grieving family.


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