Skater Nancy Kerrigan’s brother jailed in father’s death
By Evan Buxbaum, CNN
January 26, 2010 12:35 p.m. EST
(CNN) — The father of American figure skater Nancy Kerrigan is dead and her brother is behind bars, accused of assault and battery against 70-year old Daniel Kerrigan, according to Massachusetts authorities.
Daniel Kerrigan died Sunday after being taken by emergency personnel from his family home in Stoneham, Massachusetts, to a hospital, authorities said. His son Mark, 45, was arraigned Monday and pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from an alleged assault.
According to Middlesex County Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Keeley, police responded to a 911 call at approximately 1:30 a.m. Sunday from Brenda Kerrigan, wife of Daniel and mother to Mark and Nancy Kerrigan.
Keeley told Middlesex District Court Judge Mark Sullivan during the arraignment Monday for Mark Kerrigan that there was a violent argument and struggle between the father and his son, resulting in the elder Kerrigan falling or collapsing on the kitchen floor. Keeley said that Mark Kerrigan told authorities “that he did in fact have an argument with his father, the argument became physical, he grabbed his father around the neck, and at some point the father collapsed to the floor.”
The Middlesex District Attorney’s office said Monday that authorities were still investigating the “entirety of the circumstances of the incident,” along with the cause and manner of death. The county medical examiner is expected to release a report within a couple of weeks.
According to Keeley, police found Mark Kerrigan in the basement of the house, “clearly intoxicated” and “extremely combative.” He refused to comply with police officers, said Keeley, and they had to subdue him with pepper spray before forcibly removing him from the home.
Mark Kerrigan wept softly during Monday’s arraignment. His attorney, Denise Moore, told the judge that Kerrigan was in grief and “quite distraught about his father’s death.” Through his attorney, Mark Kerrigan denied any responsibility in the death.
Moore said in court that Mark Kerrigan was unemployed, was recently released from a correctional facility and was living at home with his parents. He is taking medications and seeking psychological help for post-traumatic stress, apparently from his time in the Army, Moore said.
Despite appeals from his attorney, Sullivan ordered Kerrigan held on $10,000 cash bail. His next court appearance is expected to be February 24.
Nancy Kerrigan first gained prominence by winning a bronze medal at the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, France. In 1994 she earned an Olympic silver medal in Lillehammer, Norway. But she is perhaps best remembered for surviving an attack before the 1994 Winter Games by skating rival Tanya Harding’s ex-husband and an accomplice.
Through a spokeswoman on Tuesday, the Kerrigan family released a statement saying: “Dan Kerrigan was a wonderful husband for 47 years, a caring and loving father to his daughter Nancy and two sons, Michael and Mark, and a grandfather of eight. … The family’s focus is on mourning Dan and honoring his life and many contributions.”
CNN’s Vanessa Juarez contributed to this report.