Fifth player testifies to buying opioids from Eric Kay; closing arguments next in trial involving Tyler Skaggs’ death

Former Los Angeles Angels employee Eric Kay, left, waits to cross the street after exiting federal court where he is on trial for federal drug distribution and conspiracy charges in Fort Worth, Texas, Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2022. Kay is accused of providing Tyler Skaggs the drugs that led to the pitcher's overdose death. The 27-year-old Skaggs was found dead in July 2019 in a suburban Dallas hotel room. He had choked to death on his vomit, and a toxic mix of alcohol, fentanyl and oxycodone was in his system. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
By Sam Blum Feb 17, 2022 20
FORT WORTH, Texas — After the government used nearly six days to try to prove its case against former Angels employee Eric Kay, his defense team needed only a couple of hours before resting its case Wednesday in the criminal trial involving the death of pitcher Tyler Skaggs.

Closing arguments are scheduled for Thursday morning, and jury deliberations will likely begin after that; jurors are tasked with deciding whether the government proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Kay provided fentanyl-laced pills to Skaggs, that the fentanyl killed Skaggs, and that there’s a preponderance of evidence that Kay gave Skaggs the pills in Texas.

Kay, who has pleaded not guilty to two felony counts, faces up to 20 years in federal prison if convicted.

Following Tuesday’s explosive testimony from four former Angels players, who admitted to receiving oxycodone from Kay, the defense called three additional Major League Baseball players to the stand Wednesday, including pitcher Blake Parker, who became the fifth player to testify to buying prescription painkillers from Kay. He was overcome with emotion upon taking the stand, later saying it was because he considered Skaggs a friend.

While Parker acknowledged that he received pills from Kay in 2018, he said he ingested only one half of one pill and attempted to return his purchase after he experienced numbness in his hand. Parker, who was not with the Angels in 2019, said he found Kay to be professional and noted he still thought highly of the former Angels communications director.