FORT WORTH, Texas - The defense rested its case Wednesday in the trial about the overdose death of Los Angeles Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs.
Three major league players called by the defense took the stand to talk about pill use and the defendant, former Angels Communications Director Eric Kay.
Skaggs died in a Southlake hotel room in 2019 while the Angels were in town to play the Texas Rangers.
Former teammates Andrelton Simmons, Trevor Cahill and Blake Parker all testified. At one point during questioning, Parker stated he could not recall if he told the grand jury that Skaggs referred to Kay as someone who could get pills.
"He might have. I’m not one hundred percent certain," Parker said.
Parker said he did get ten pills from Kay. He took one of the pills, but a side effect made his hand numb, and he attempted to return the remainder to Kay. He ultimately did not receive his money back.
During other witness testimony, a data expert with the US Secret Service was called on to explain activity on Tyler Skaggs cell phone weeks after his death in late July 2019.
The defense says the data indicates the Instagram app was opened and deletions were made. The government cross-examined the expert and suggested the app could’ve been already open in the background and had been since before Skaggs died.
"In actuality we don’t know what was deleted or how much," said Reagan Wynn, defense attorney.
"Not with this particular set of data," said Stefan Hare, Data Specialist, US Secret Service.
Former federal prosecutor John Teakell is not involved in the case. He calls it a strategic move for the defense.
"Why open him back up by putting him on the stand and raising more questions that raise other questions and make him look not so good in the jury’s eyes?" he said.
In total, five former Angels players testified they got oxycodone from Kay, supporting the prosecution’s argument that Kay was Skaggs’ sole source of oxycodone.
But the defense got a couple of them to admit that Skaggs had other drug sources, and that they, too, had other drug sources.
Earlier this week, a drug dealer testified he also sold drugs to Skaggs. But he said he never dealt oxycodone.
While the testimony may support the prosecution., Teakell says it could also support the defense.
"It just depends on what the total evidence is and how much of an impact that one particular piece of evidence has," he said
Wednesday’s testimony also included discussion of how secure it is at the Long Beach Airport. The defense implied it could have been possible for Skaggs to meet a different dealer before his flight to Texas.
Teakell says the key question is whether or not the defense created enough doubt throughout the trial for the jury to find Kay innocent.
"It’s like a built-in argument for them. It’s rampant within the major leagues and there are a lot of people who are out doing it," he said. "There’s no telling who and where, no telling who and where this came from."
The defense rested by early Wednesday afternoon.
Kay chose not to testify in his own defense.
The jury will hear the reading of the charge on Thursday morning, and then closing arguments will begin.