Update From The First Three Days Of The Eric Kay Trial

MLB: Houston Astros at Los Angeles Angels
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

We have reached day four of the Eric Kay trial.

Eric Kay, a former Los Angeles Angels employee, was charged with supplying the drugs that killed former Los Angeles Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs.

On July 1, while the club was in town for a game against the Texas Rangers, Skaggs was discovered dead in a hotel room in Southlake, Texas. According to a toxicology study, he had consumed oxycodone, fentanyl, and alcohol before asphyxiating on his vomit.

Skaggs didn’t overdose, he asphyxiated, which makes a big difference in court.

The government is arguing that if it wasn’t for the fentanyl in the pills Skaggs snorted, he’d be alive. The defense has said there would be no medical way to say it wasn’t something else that caused his asphyxiation, like the grain alcohol he drank.

MLB players will be summoned in to court over the next several days to explain their drug use. That will be the subject of most of the headlines. However, there will be some testimony that might lead to answering questions on how exactly Skaggs died.

Skaggs, who was legally intoxicated when he died, had stopped drinking hours before his death, according to Dr. Marc Krouse, who was the medical examiner assigned to Skaggs autopsy in 2019.

Skaggs had consumed oxycodone “up to 30 to 60 minutes” before his death, according to Krouse. 

Skaggs died soon after consuming the fentanyl, according to Krouse. The level of fentanyl was regarded by Krouse as “possibly toxic.”

He further said that if someone has taken three different kinds of drugs and subsequently dies, the third substance is usually assumed to be the cause of death.

The third drug that Skaggs took that night was Fentanyl. 

Krause was questioned on if the ethanol and oxycodone would have caused him to vomit and asphyxiate if not for the fentanyl.  Krouse said although there is reduced likelihood,  “It can’t be eliminated,” he said. 

“Can you state with medical certainty that Tyler Skaggs would be alive if he hadn’t eaten fentanyl?” defense attorney Reagan Wynn asked Krouse. “Greater probability,” Krouse said.

Andrew Heaney, a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers, was cross examined at the start of Wednesday’s session. Heaney was one of Skaggs teammates on the Angels and also a good friend of the deceased pitcher.

Heaney admitted on the stand that he smoked marijuana with Skaggs and that a number of players use opioid painkillers.

Heaney had testified on Tuesday that he had no knowledge of Skaggs’ drug usage. However, during Wednesday’s cross-examination, he was asked about a text message he sent to Skaggs that said, “You’re extremely geetered right now.”

When asked what “geetered” meant, Heaney said, “I believe it’s a phrase for being high.” Heaney stated he didn’t know that it meant to be high on methamphetamine until Molfetta mentioned the Urban Dictionary definition.

Skaggs mother, Debbie Hetman, appeared as a prosecution witness in the case against former Angels communications director Eric Kay.

Skaggs initially mentioned a problem with Percocet to his mother in 2013, and he quit “cold turkey” at the time, according to Hetman.

For the first time, jurors were shown images of Skaggs’ lifeless corpse, including close-ups of his purple face, which was face down in a tiny puddle of blood on his hotel bed.

According to ESPN’s T.J. Quinn, who is on site at the trial, Hetman and her husband  were in court for the testimony, but they were seated in a corner away from the pictures so they were not visible. 

As a police investigator coldly and unemotionally explained the specifics of the situation, she listened tensely with her left hand at her lips, according to Quinn.

This trial could be a potential disaster for the MLB, with more players expected to be called to the stand to talk about drug use. The government says Eric Kay was providing opioids to multiple players.

Stay tuned to League of Justice as we continue to follow the trial.