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Former Angels Communications Director Eric Kay Sentenced to 22 Years in Tyler Skaggs Overdose Case

October sentencing comes over three years after 2019 overdose in Southlake, Texas

Former Los Angeles Angels employee Eric Kay was sentenced this week to 22 years in federal prison in connection with the 2019 overdose death of Angles pitcher Tyler Skaggs, a graduate of Santa Monica High School. 

In February, a federal jury found former Angels Communications Director Eric Prescott Kay guilty of distribution of a controlled substance resulting in death and conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances. He was sentenced October 11 by Senior U.S. District Judge Terry R. Means.

According to evidence presented at trial, Mr. Kay distributed the pills that killed Mr. Skaggs.

“The Skaggs family learned the hard way: One fentanyl pill can kill. That’s why our office is committed to holding to account anyone who deals in illicit opioids, whether they operate in back alleyways or world class stadiums,” U.S. Attorney Chad E. Meacham said following today’s hearing. “Mr. Skaggs did not deserve to die this way. No one does. We hope this sentence will bring some comfort to his grieving family.”

The investigation began on July 1, 2019, when the Southlake Police Department received a 911 call stating that Mr. Skaggs, then just 27 years old, had been found dead in his hotel room at the Southlake Town Square Hilton. The Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s office later determined that Mr. Skaggs had a mixture of ethanol, fentanyl, and oxycodone in his system at the time of his death..

Inside Mr. Skaggs’s hotel room, investigators discovered a number of pills, including a single blue pill with the markings M/30.  An analysis of the pill  – which closely resembled a 30-milligram oxycodone tablet – revealed it had been laced with fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opiate.

In an initial interview with law enforcement, Mr. Kay denied knowing whether Mr. Skaggs was a drug user. He claimed the last time he’d seen Mr. Skaggs was at hotel check-in on June 30. However, a search of Mr. Skaggs’s phone revealed text messages from June 30 suggesting that he had asked Mr. Kay to stop by his room with pills late that evening. Investigators later learned that, contrary to what he’d told law enforcement the day Mr. Skaggs’s body was discovered, Mr. Kay had admitted to a colleague that he had, in fact, visited Mr. Skaggs’s room the night of his death.

In the course of their investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration determined that Mr. Kay allegedly regularly dealt the blue M/30 pills – dubbed “blue boys” – to Mr. Skaggs and to others, dolling out the pills at the stadium where they worked.

Several former Angels players, including Matt Harvey, C.J. Cron, Mike Morin, and Cameron Bedrosian testified at trial that Eric Kay distributed blue 30 milligram oxycodone pills to them as well.  They further testified that he was the only source of these pills and would conduct transactions in the Angels Stadium.

At Tuesday’s sentencing hearing, prosecutors introduced into evidence jailhouse calls and emails demonstrating the nature of Mr. Kay’s crime and his lack of remorse.

Mr. Kay repeatedly insulted Tyler Skaggs, his deceased victim:

“I hope people realize what a piece of sh*t he is,” he told his mother in a recorded jailhouse call. “Well, he’s dead, so f*ck ‘em.” 

He also mocked the Skaggs family, calling them “dumb” and “white trash” and suggesting his mother plant negative stories about them in the media.

“All they see are dollar signs,” he said of the Skaggs family. “They may get more money with him dead than he was playing because he sucked.”

He even demeaned the jurors that convicted him, calling them “fat, sloppy, toothless, and unemployed.”

“Today’s sentencing of Eric Kay will not ease the suffering that the Skaggs’ family have experienced since 2019,” said Eduardo A. Chavez, Special Agent in Charge of DEA Dallas. “What the guilty verdict and sentencing proves is even if you sell only a small number of pills and one of those pills causes the death of an individual, you will be held responsible and sentenced to the fullest extent allowed by our judicial system.”

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