Tyler Skaggs

‘It Was The Worst Day of My Life,' Mother of Tyler Skaggs Testifies in Trial of Overdose Death

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More witnesses took the stand Wednesday in the trial of a former Los Angeles Angels employee over his alleged role in the death of Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs.

Eric Kay, the team’s former communications director, is facing charges of drug distribution and drug conspiracy in Skaggs' 2019 death. Skaggs was found dead inside his Southlake hotel room on July 1, 2019, after the team had traveled from Los Angeles before the start of what was supposed to be a four-game series against the Texas Rangers.

Prosecutors are trying to make their case that Kay provided Tyler Skaggs with the drugs that caused his overdose death.

Debbie Hetman, the mother of Tyler Skaggs, gave an emotional testimony Wednesday saying she was “angry” when she read the autopsy report. A coroner’s report said Skaggs had choked to death on his vomit with a toxic mix of alcohol and the drugs fentanyl and oxycodone in his system.

She recalled not being able to reach her son via phone call or text messages on July 1, which she said was out-of-character for him. His wife Carli was also unable to reach him before she [Carli] eventually informed Hetman of Skagg’s passing.

“It was the worst day of my life,” Hetman said on the stand Wednesday, adding she misses her son. “It sucks. I’m sorry.”

During her testimony, Hetman said Skaggs disclosed to his stepfather in 2013 he had “an issue with Percocet.” Rather than taking prescribed medications intended to help wean him off, Hetman said her son decided to “quit cold turkey.” After his surgery, she insisted her doctor not prescribe him any Percocet.

Former employees of the Los Angeles Angels team, including a travel security officer and teammate, also testified on Wednesday. Andrew Heaney, formerly of the Los Angeles Angels, said he considered Skaggs a close friend but added he did not know he was taking opioids.

Charles Knight, a former travel security for the team, discovered Skagg’s body inside the room on July 1 after people had alerted team officials they were unable to get in touch with him. Knight recalled, there “were no signs of life” by the time he found him.

The trial began on Tuesday, when Kay’s lead defense attorney said his client didn’t give Skaggs drugs the night before he died and there was no way to know whether the fentanyl Kay is accused of providing was the cause of Skaggs’ death at the Hilton Dallas/Southlake Town Square hotel.  

Defense attorney Reagan Wynn told jurors Kay entered Skaggs’ room on June 30, 2019, to find the pitcher sitting at a table with lines of powdery substances in front of him. Wynn said Skaggs told Kay a drug Kay didn’t recognize was something he had shared with Matt Harvey, who pitched for the Angels that season.

The trial is expected to last for about a week.

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