Eric Kay, a former Angels employee, was sentenced to 22 years in prison in the Tyler Skaggs case

FORT WORTH — Eric Kay, the former communications director for the Los Angeles Angels, was sentenced Tuesday to 22 years in prison after being convicted in February of providing drugs that… Caused the death of bowler Tyler Skags in 2019.

District Judge Terry Maines said he exceeded the 20-year minimum that Kay faced because of the notes he made in prison.

Prosecutors played a tape of a prison phone conversation in which Kay, whose calls were monitored and taped, said of Skaggs, “I hope people realize what it is. … Well, he’s dead, so he is.”

Maines said he feared the sentencing of Kay, 48, who was convicted of drug distribution resulting in death, because he felt the mandatory minimum was “excessive.” But the judge said the prison conversations showed “a refusal to take responsibility and even a feeling of remorse for something I caused.”

In his own notes, Kaye apologized for “throwing vitriol” at Skaggs, prosecutors, and the jury in that and other prison correspondence.

“I wanted to blame Tyler for all of this,” Kay said, describing his words as “very wrong and disgusting.”

The emotional sentencing session marked a bleak end to this phase of a legal saga that began when Skaggs, 27, was found dead in a hotel room in South Lake, Texas on July 1, 2019, with oxycodone and fentanyl in his system. Kay indicated that he would appeal his conviction.

Kaye, like Skaggs, was a user of illegal opioids. through kai Trial in FebruaryEyewitnesses, including several Major League Baseball players, said he shared pain pills with them on the black market, although the government has not hinted that he did so for profit.

Federal prosecutor Erin Martin stated that Kay was in the Skaggs hotel room when he choked on his vomiting — a dispute based on key card evidence — and that he did not attempt to rescue the bowler because he was “frightened and decided to save himself and his job” or because he was incapacitated.

Martin said Tuesday that Kay knew the drugs he gave Skaggs was “potentially counterfeit” and could contain fentanyl.

Kaye, who did not take a stand in his own defense during the trial, did not directly address the government’s version of events on Tuesday, but did express remorse for his actions, blaming his addiction.

“I’m going to spend the rest of my days on the mend,” Kay, who was wearing an orange jumpsuit and had his arms and legs tied, said during occasionally sobbing remarks.

Skaggs’ family members said Kay was responsible for the shooter’s death in their private statements in court Tuesday.

“Eric Kay knew that the medicines he was giving to my son and the other players [were] It’s full of fentanyl, said Debbie, Skaggs’ mother, adding that “a stringent sentence…has the power to dissuade people from offering deadly drugs to others.”

“I feel very strongly that those who risk the lives of others with deadly drugs must be held accountable,” said Carly, Skaggs’ widow. “If there’s anything good that can bring about Tyler’s death and this trial, someone else’s wife will be prevented from taking the call you made.”

“I know no matter how much time it takes Eric Kay to get Tyler back,” Daryl, Skaggs’ father, said in a statement that Tyler’s aunt read in court. “But the longer he is imprisoned, the safer everyone becomes.”

Kay, who grew up in the upper middle class in Southern California and was educated at Pepperdine University before rising to earn a six-figure salary with the Angels, has no prior criminal record. But Martin, the attorney general, said Kay’s prison correspondence was evidence he hadn’t learned his lesson.

In emails and phone calls, Kaye referred to the “Skaggs family,” mocked jurors as “retarded” with missing teeth and referred to the federal attorney general’s “horrible make-up.” Martin also noted that Kai was allegedly caught with suboxone while in prison.

“This kind of person re-abuses,” Martin said. Eric Kay won’t stop.

Kay’s attorney, Cody Cover, said his client’s statements in prison reflected the discontent of a man dealing with his two-decade separation from his family. “The notion that criminality is likely to recur is not supported,” Cover said.

Maines said that Kay should be imprisoned near his California home, where he has three sons, the youngest of whom is 12 years old. willingly,” the judge urged leniency.

“My little brother really needs it,” said Carter Kay. “I haven’t seen him smile in a while.”

The Skags family has File a lawsuit against Kai and the angelsclaiming that the team “knew or should have known” Kay was a drug abuser and that placing him near athletes playing through injuries created a “perfect storm” that led to the bowler’s death.

The family is represented by attorney Rusty Harden from Texas.

A family spokesman said following the verdict: “Today’s verdict is not related to the number of years the accused has served.” “The real problem in this case is to hold the people who distribute the deadly drug fentanyl to account.”

Angels denied the allegations in the family’s lawsuit. “Our sympathies go out to the Skags family on this difficult day,” a spokesperson for the Angels said in a statement Tuesday.

Since Kai’s trial, one of his lawyers, Reagan Wayne, has been too He was suspended from law practice after the Texas Bar Association found that he had “failed to explain” to another client the facts of his criminal case.. At a May hearing in Kay’s case, his other attorney, Michael Molvita, appeared to blame Wayne for leaving Kay without representation during a meeting with probation officials before he was sentenced.

“I was always part of a mass email on probation, and I wrongly—and it is on my account—I assumed Reagan was dealing with it,” Molfetta told the judge. “I’d like to text Mr. Wayne and say, ‘Hey, do you get this?'” “And throughout our acting, he obviously doesn’t like scripts, because he’s not really mine anymore.”

Molfetta has also since left the case. In an interview with The Washington Post, Sandy Kay said her son received a weak legal defense.

“Tyler Skaggs was an adult man who deliberately chose to engage in dangerous behavior that ended in his death,” Sandra Kay said. “And to hold someone else accountable for that is a great injustice.”

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