Eric Kay, a former Los Angeles Angels employee, was sentenced to 22 years in federal prison on Tuesday for supplying pitcher Tyler Skaggs with drugs that led to his overdose death in Texas.
Kay, 48, who was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Terry R. Means in Fort Worth, had faced at least 20 years in prison after being convicted in February of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance and conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance resulting in death and serious bodily harm.
According to the Associated Press, Kay, dressed in an orange jumpsuit with handcuffs and leg shackles, did not react when the judge read his sentence. There was also no visible reaction from Skaggs’ widow and mother or Kay’s family members.
Skaggs’ family released a statement after sentencing.
“We are so grateful to everyone who worked so hard to investigate and prosecute Eric Kay,” the statement read. “Today’s sentence is not about the number of years the defendant has received. The real issue in this case is holding accountable those who distribute the deadly drug fentanyl. It kills dozens of thousands of people every 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.
During the sentencing hearing, prosecutors introduced some of Kay’s phone calls and emails to jail as evidence in hopes of demonstrating Kay’s lack of remorse.
In calls and emails, Kay attacked the Skaggs character, mocked the Skaggs family, belittled the jury that convicted him, and implied that the entire proceeding was an attempt by the Skaggs family to obtain money in a civil action.
“All they see are dollar signs,” Kay said. “They can make more money with him dead than he was playing.”
The trial, which took place over two weeks in February, explored drug use among Major League Baseball players, several of whom during testimony admitted to acquiring opioids through Kay . Matt Harvey, a former Mets pitcher who was a Skaggs teammate with the Angels in 2019, discussed his own cocaine use, as well as his opioid use. He and others portrayed Kay as a team employee known for his ability to provide players with the drugs they sought, even as he dealt with his own addiction to pills.
Skaggs, who several witnesses said had an addiction to the opioid Percocet earlier in his career, allegedly sent teammates to Kay over the years so Kay could acquire drugs for them.
Federal prosecutors say Skaggs’ death in a hotel room in July 2019 occurred after he choked on his vomit from pills given to him by Kay that looked like oxycodone. but were actually fentanyl, a stronger opioid. A medical examiner and several toxicologists testified that it was the fentanyl in Skaggs’ system that led to his death.
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