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Eric Kay indicted in Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs’ overdose death

Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs
Pitcher Tyler Skaggs died in his hotel room July 1, 2019, in Southlake, Texas, before the Angels were scheduled to start a three-game series against the Texas Rangers.
(Leon Halip / Getty Images)

A federal grand jury in Texas has indicted former Angels employee Eric Kay on two felony counts in the overdose death of pitcher Tyler Skaggs.

Returned late Thursday and filed Friday morning in U.S. District Court in Fort Worth, the indictment charges Kay with distributing the fentanyl that resulted in Skaggs’ death last year.

“On or about June 30, 2019 … Eric Prescott Kay, the defendant, did knowingly and intentionally distribute a mixture and substance containing a detectable amount of fentanyl, a Schedule II controlled substance, and the use of said substance resulted in the death and serious bodily injury of [Skaggs],” the indictment said.

It also alleges Kay and unspecified “others” conspired to “possess with the intent to distribute and to distribute” a substance containing fentanyl “beginning in or before 2017.”

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An attorney for Kay and a spokesman for the Skaggs family didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Kay, who worked in the Angels’ media relations department for 24 years, was arrested by federal authorities Aug. 7 on a charge of distributing fentanyl. He hadn’t entered a plea.

The deadline to indict Kay was extended twice after the initial charge while both sides discussed a plea bargain.

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Skaggs, 27, died in his hotel room July 1, 2019, in Southlake, Texas, before the Angels were scheduled to start a three-game series against the Texas Rangers. The toxicology report by the Tarrant County medical examiner found fentanyl and oxycodone in his system and listed the cause of death as “alcohol, fentanyl and oxycodone intoxication with terminal aspiration of gastric contents.”

According to the affidavit supporting the criminal complaint, Kay visited Skaggs late at night June 30 in response to his request for pills. The filing included text messages between the two men.

“Hoe [sic] many?” Kay wrote on the afternoon of June 30.

“Just a few like 5,” Skaggs responded.

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“Word,” Kay said.

Investigators found a counterfeit oxycodone pill laced with fentanyl in Skaggs’ room and “white residue” on the floor that tested positive for fentanyl.

“It was later determined that but for the fentanyl in [Skaggs’] system, [he] would not have died,” Drug Enforcement Administration special agent Geoffrey Lindenberg wrote in the affidavit.

Kay and Skaggs had a “history of narcotic transactions,” the affidavit alleged, and Kay provided opioids to “[Skaggs] and others in their place of employment and while they were working.”

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If convicted, Kay faces a maximum of 20 years to life in prison for the distribution resulting in death charge and a maximum of 20 years in prison for the conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute charge.

He is scheduled to be arraigned in Fort Worth on Oct. 28.


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