Skater Nancy Kerrigan's Brother Charged in Dad's Death

Brother charged with assault, mom claims husband died of massive heart attack

By Tamer El-Ghobashy
|  Monday, Jan 25, 2010  |  Updated 2:53 PM CDT
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Skater Nancy Kerrigan's Brother Charged in Dad's Death

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WASHINGTON - NOVEMBER 16: Nancy Kerrigan rehearses at "Kaleidoscope" presented by sanofi-aventis US airing nationally on Thanksgiving Day on FOX at Verizon Center on November 16, 2009 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Edge Health)

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Olympic figure skater Nancy Kerrigan's brother has been charged with assaulting their 70-year-old father, who was discovered dead in the family home Sunday, Massachusetts authorities said.

Mark Kerrigan, 45, was arraigned today on a single charge of assault and battery on his father, Daniel Kerrigan, who was pronounced dead at a hospital after police responded to a call of an "unresponsive" man at the house.

Mark Kerrigan was ordered held on $10,000 bail after a not guilty plea was entered on his behalf. He did not speak, but appeared to be weeping at one point, the Associated Press reported.

Nancy Kerrigan has not spoken publicly but was seen arriving at the family home at 2 p.m. Monday.

The hearing did not shed much light on the murky circumstances of the incident. "He and his father had a violent argument and struggle at the home, and Daniel Kerrigan either fell or collapsed on the kitchen floor," said Elizabeth Healey, an assistant Middlesex County district attorney.

Daniel Kerrigan's wife, Brenda Kerrigan, told the Boston Herald that he died of a "massive heart attack" -- a claim not confirmed by cops. The police report suggests the father and son had a heated argument and scuffle before the elder Kerrigan collapsed, the Herald reported.

According to the Herald, the five page report states the father and son were yelling and shoving each other "back and forth" until Daniel Kerrigan fell. Mark Kerrigan put his "hands around his father's neck" before the older man fell, cops said.

"He stated that he wanted to use the phone and his father would not let him. He said he struggled with his father and put his hands around his father's neck and his father fell to the floor," the arresting officer wrote.

Mark Kerrigan told officers that he believed his father was "faking it," according to the report.

Cops had to use pepper spray to subdue Mark Kerrigan -- who appeared to be intoxicated, the police report said.

The younger Kerrigan has a "lengthy" criminal record, according to prosecutors, including arrests for assault and battery, assault with a dangerous weapon, malicious destruction and violation of a restraining order. His defense attorney, Denise Moore, said he "is extremely distraught over the death of his father and denies any responsibility."

Nancy Kerrigan was thrust into the spotlight after she was attacked in 1994 by the husband of rival figure skater Tonya Harding. Kerrigan recovered and won a silver medal at the Olympics in Norway -- while Harding stumbled. Harding was later convicted in connection with the case and banned for life by the U.S. Figure Skating Association.

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