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Angels ex-staffer Eric Kay sentenced to 22 years in Tyler Skaggs overdose death

Angels ex-staffer Eric Kay sentenced to 22 years in Tyler Skaggs' overdose death
Angels ex-staffer Eric Kay sentenced to 22 years in Tyler Skaggs' overdose death 02:13

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) - Former Los Angeles Angels communications director Eric Kay was sentenced to 22 years in prison following his conviction for distributing fentanyl and giving Tyler Skaggs the drugs that caused his death

Judge Terry Means said he was "dreading" the sentence for Kay, due to disagreement with the 20-yr minimum. However, in recorded phone calls from prison, and emails, Kay allegedly disparaged the jury, Skaggs, his family and prosecutors. Thus, Judge Means added two years in response to that. 

Kay addressed the court on Oct. 11 and said his comments were disgusting and came from anger and he regretted them. He also said he realized the case isn't about him, but about Skaggs who lost his life. 

The Angels pitcher died in a Southlake hotel room in 2019. A coroner's report said Skaggs, 27, had choked to death on his vomit, and a toxic mix of alcohol, fentanyl and oxycodone was in his system. The medical examiner who conducted the autopsy testified there was a "greater probability" that fentanyl, which is significantly more potent than oxycodone, caused Skaggs' death. An expert for the government said it was a near-certainty fentanyl led to Skaggs' death.

Eric Kay  sketches by Dan Crowell

At 47-years-old, Kay was later tried in federal court in Fort Worth, about 15 miles from where the Angels were supposed to open a four-game series against the Texas Rangers on July 1, 2019, the day Skaggs was found dead.

The trial included testimony from five major league players who said they received oxycodone pills from Kay at various times from 2017-19, the years Kay was accused of obtaining pills and giving them to players. Kay also used drugs himself, according to testimony and court documents.

The family of Tyler Skaggs released a statement following Kay's sentencing.

"We are very grateful to everyone who worked so hard to investigate and prosecute Eric
Kay. Today's sentencing isn't about the number of years the defendant received. The real issue in this case is holding accountable the people who are distributing the deadly drug fentanyl. It is killing tens of thousands of people every year in our country and destroying families along with it. We will continue the fight to hold responsible those who allowed Kay to provide a deadly drug to Tyler. But for their actions, Tyler would still be with us today." 

Kay served as the team's public relations contact on many road trips, and the trip to Texas was his first since returning from rehab. Kay was placed on leave shortly after Skaggs' death and never returned to the team.

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