The U.S. in v Eric Kay jury began deliberations on Thursday morning with two stories for them to choose from: the federal government's version of the former and the U.S. government's version of the latter.Tyler Skaggs' death in July 2019 was caused by a drug dealer, according to the communications director. He received the fatal opioid fentanyl. Skaggs' tragic suicide was Skaggs' fault, while Kay claims that Kay was a drug addict and had nothing to do.
Lindsey Beran, assistant U.S. Attorney, told the jury in her closing argument that “we told you at the start of this case that the case was about one person that Tyler Skaggs was texting about pills with one person on June 30, 2019. Eric Kay.” Eric Kay was Tyler's invitee to his hotel room. Eric Kay, the only person who entered Tyler's hotel room on June 30th, was responsible for his death.
Michael Molfetta, defense attorney, attacked government's case. He claimed that it was “reverseengineered” in order to get Kay because Skaggs' celebrity: Do you think Eric Kay would still be alive?
Molfetta said that Skaggs' final responsibility was with the late pitcher.
“When does a man of adulthood who lives in luxury and has no luggage, take responsibility for his actions?” He spoke out to the jury. “Tyler Skaggs wasn't worthy of this. No one deserves it.” But he was accountable for it.”
Skaggs and Kay first met in 2017. They soon began a relationship that saw two opioid users crush and snort pills in the clubhouse. U.S Drug Enforcement Administration agents heard Kay tell them that Skaggs introduced Kay to a dealer and paid for the drugs. Kay was responsible for the transactions. Skaggs told at least four Angels players that Kay could supply them with oxycodone over the course of the next few seasons.
The Angels flew to Texas on June 30, 2019 for a series against Rangers. Skaggs requested several pills from Kay before the flight, as evidence suggests. Skaggs texted Kay that night to invite him to his 469-square-foot room after the team arrived.
Kay stated to investigators that he had no pills with him and that when he arrived at Skaggs’ room, there were already three pills that had been crushed and ready to be snorted onto Skaggs’ desk. Molfetta argued that Kay was the pitcher and it didn't make sense.Skaggs would not leave the pills in his locker for an oxycodone tablet in the Angels clubhouse.
Kay stated that he didn't ingest drugs and was taking naloxone, an anti-opioid drug. He stated that Skaggs was awake when he left.
Skaggs didn't respond to numerous texts or calls from Carli the next morning on July 1, so team security personnel checked his room and found him dead.
The government presented seven days worth of testimony to prove that Kay was not responsible for Skaggs's possession of the pills.
The defense spent its 11 ½ hours of testimony trying to poke enough holes in the government's case to establish reasonable doubt: Skaggs had several drug sources who could have gotten to him before or after the flight; no one can say definitely that the fentanyl killed him and not the alcohol or oxycodone; there is no evidence that a crime was committed in Texas, which would mean this court does not have jurisdiction in the case.
Dr. Marc Krouse of Tarrant County, Texas, concluded that Skaggs died from asphyxia after ingesting oxycodone, fentanyl and alcohol. The death was ruled accidental by Krouse. Krouse's autopsy, toxicology and toxicology were reviewed by experts for the government. They determined that Skaggs' death had been caused by fentanyl. Skaggs would have survived if it wasn't for fentanyl.