FORT WORTH (Texas) – The key question to determining whether former is a good idea.Eric Kay, communications director, is responsible for Tyler Skaggs' drug-related death. He is currently determining what caused his death.
It wouldn't surprise that the jury in the U.S. V Eric Kay case ended week one confused. Kay is accused of giving Skaggs fentanyl-laced pills, which the government claims directly contributed to Skaggs' suicide.
In 2019, the official ruling of the medical examiner was that Skaggs had fentanyl and oxycodone in his system but that he died from asphyxiation following vomiting. The medical examiner Dr. Marc Krouse, who was fired last year for making mistakes in unrelated cases, said Thursday that he stands by his decision that Skaggs' accidental death was accidental. Although he could not say whether Skaggs died from fentanyl, he said it increased the likelihood of his death.
Dr. Richard Fries was the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s assistant and replaced Krouse on Friday. He testified that Skaggs died from an overdose due to fentanyl.
Skaggs could not have survived “but for” the Fentanyl, say the prosecution.
Assistant U.S. Atty. Errin M. Martin asked Fries “What was the but for' in that case?”
Fries replied, “In this instance I would consider it to be the fentanyl.”
Fries, although he didn't conduct the autopsy, did review the Krouse autopsy and the toxicology reports. Fries stated that his conclusion was based partly on the toxic drug Skaggs ingested. Michael Molfetta, defense attorney, questioned Fries during cross-examination about studies that showed fentanyl levels could rise after someone is killed, because the body absorbs it more.
Molfetta asked Fries to tell Molfetta the level of Skaggs' body at the time. Fries responded that it was impossible for him to say, but that it could be the same or higher.
Molfetta asked Molfetta, in a rare moment made for television, “Is it possible that the level was lower?” Fries stared back for longer than five seconds before finally saying, “It's feasible.”
Molfetta closed his questioning by saying, “In rooms as these, it's about yes or no. It's not all about maybes.” Do you agree it's about proof beyond any reasonable doubt?
Fries replied, “That's what I understand.”
Another exchange produced mixed results for both the government and the government. Prosecutors called FBI Special agent Mark Sedwick to give evidence about his analysis on cell phone records in order to find Kay's location. Kay had many conversations with a person that was identified by both sides, and they were all drug dealers. While the phone's registered owner is “Ashley Smith”, both sides claim that this is an alias used by a drug dealer. In the days before the fatal road trip, the government recorded numerous calls and messages between Kay and Ashley Smith. Prosecutors claim Kay obtained drugs and gave them to Skaggs in Texas. Cross-examination revealed that Sedwick could only identify Kay's phone and the “Smith” phone as being in the same location one time. That was on June 28, two days prior to the Texas trip.
Monday's trial will resume with Skaggs' former Angels teammates expected testifying about their drug use.
One moment of humor occurred Friday when Lindsey Beran, Assistant U.S. attorney, gave a witness a protective gloves to use with a piece evidence. The witness couldn't put it on.
He said, “It doesn’t fit.”
Judge Terry R. Means' dry Texas jokes provide comic relief throughout the week. He responded, “Guess that we have to acquit.”