FORT WORTH — No extra every day texts and cellphone calls. No extra FaceTime. Watching ESPN whereas ready for a coach doesn’t occur anymore and Debbie Hetman not faithfully attends Los Angeles Angels residence video games to look at her son Tyler Skaggs pitch.
“I miss him on daily basis,” she mentioned.
Skaggs, a preferred pitcher for the Angels, died in a Dallas-area resort room in 2019, two weeks in need of his twenty eighth birthday, due to a deadly mixture of alcohol, fentanyl and oxycodone, witnesses from the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s workplace testified in a federal courtroom in Fort Value final week.
Skaggs had been on the town for a highway collection in opposition to the Texas Rangers, and his dying shook his household, and baseball, shining a lightweight on an opioid crisis that was permeating all ranges of American society, together with skilled sports activities.
“It was the worst day of my life,” Hetman mentioned. “We flew to Texas that day to see Tyler and discover out what the hell occurred.”
An investigation ultimately centered on Eric Kay, a communications director for the Angels, who’s now standing trial. The prosecution mentioned he had offered Skaggs with drugs that may have been disguised to seem like oxycodone however that had been, in actual fact, fentanyl.
The prosecution known as 20 witnesses within the first week of the trial, together with Hetman, as Kay’s mom, Sandy, watched and waited for her son’s likelihood to defend himself.
A lot of the testimony centered on textual content messages — together with the chain of custody for Skaggs’s cellphone — however Hetman additionally testified about her son’s relationship with opioids, which included a earlier dependancy to Percocet, one other opioid. She mentioned that she and her husband, Daniel Ramos, wouldn’t let Skaggs’s elbow surgeon, Dr. Neal ElAttrache, prescribe her son something stronger than Tylenol 3 after Tommy John surgical procedure.
“I knew he had points and I didn’t need him to begin up once more,” Hetman mentioned.
Earlier than Skaggs’s dying, Hetman mentioned she was unaware that her son had relapsed.
Kay’s lawyer, Reagan Wynn, mentioned his shopper was a fellow addict, suggesting in his opening assertion that the drugs that killed Skaggs might need come from Matt Harvey, a teammate of Skaggs’s, who was on the record of potential witnesses within the second week of the trial.
Kay’s protection additionally tried to determine that there was no means of realizing for positive that it was fentanyl that was the only explanation for Skaggs’s dying.
Dr. Marc Krouse, a former Tarrant County medical expert who carried out Skaggs’s post-mortem, defined his report through which he decided that Skaggs had died unintentionally from a “mixture of ethanol, fentanyl and oxycodone intoxication with terminal aspiration of gastric contents.”
On cross-examination, Wynn requested Dr. Krouse if he may very well be sure that Skaggs could be alive if not for the fentanyl he had ingested. Dr. Krouse mentioned that there was a “a lot higher likelihood” that Skaggs wouldn’t have died if not for the fentanyl, however that there was no approach to be one hundred pc positive.
The witness record for the second week of the trial contains a number of of Skaggs’s teammates, and it’ll resume on Monday with Kay going through costs of drug distribution and drug conspiracy. The fees may end in a number of 20-year jail sentences and a $1 million advantageous.