Nancy Kerrigan: Brother Acquitted of Killing Their Father
Nancy Kerrigan's brother, Mark Kerrigan, has been acquitted of manslaughter charges in the death of their father.
Mark Kerrigan, 46, was charged with manslaughter in the January 2010 death of his father, Daniel Kerrigan, at the family's home in Stoneham, Mass. The trial lasted one week, with Nancy Kerrigan attending every session in support of her brother. The Olympic skater believed her brother to be innocent, and defense attorneys portrayed the death as a heart attack caused by massive blockage in Daniel Kerrigan's coronary arteries.
Prosecutors alleged that Mark Kerrigan grabbed his father around the neck and snapped cartilage in his larynx, which caused the heart failure.
Mark Kerrigan was, however, convicted on a lesser charge of assault and battery and faces up to two-and-a-half years in jail. Sentencing will be Thursday.
Nancy Kerrigan said, "My family has never believed that my brother had anything to do at all with my father's death, and my dad never would have wanted any of this."
Nancy Kerrigan's brother, Mark Kerrigan, was convicted Wednesday of assault but was found innocent of the more serious charge of manslaughter in the January, 2010 death of their father, Daniel Kerrigan.
The 1992 Olympic bronze medalist and 1994 silver medalist was in the courtoom with her mother, Brenda, every day for the week-long trial. Both Nancy and her mother supported Mark Kerrigan, saying they did not believe he was the cause of Daniel Kerrigan's death. Brenda Kerrigan testified during the trial, saying she would not describe the dispute between her husband and son as a "fight."
Defense attorneys said the death was caused by heart failure, not by the actions of Mark Kerrigan, and a jury in Massachusetts found the son innocent of involuntary manslaughter charges but guilty of assault. He will be sentenced Thursday.
Daniel Kerrigan, 70, died of heart failure after an argument with his son. Prosecutors argued that Mark Kerrigan caused the death by violently grabbing his father's neck.
Jurors deliberated for part of Monday and all of Tuesday before reaching their verdict Wednesday morning.
Nancy Kerrigan cried tears of relief today when a jury in a Woburn, Mass., court found her brother Mark not guilty of manslaughter in the death of their father, Daniel Kerrigan.
“My family has never believed at all that my brother had anything to do with my father’s death, and he would — my dad would — never have wanted any of this,” Nancy Kerrigan said outside the courthouse after the verdict, according to the Associated Press.
Mark Kerrigan was, however, found guilty of assault and batter. The AP noted that defense attorney Janice Bassil said mother and daughter plan to give victim impact statements when Mark Kerrigan is sentenced Thursday. He faces a maximum 2½ years in a county jail.
Prosecutors said Mark Kerrigan caused his father’s death after he grabbed him around the neck with such force that he broke cartilage in his father’s larynx and triggered heart failure.
But, according to the Associated Press, Kerrigan’s defense lawyers called medical experts who testified that Daniel Kerrigan had 85 percent to 100 percent blockage of three main coronary arteries and that the cardiac dysrhythmia that killed him likely began before he had any physical interaction with his son.
The AP quuoted Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone as saying the Kerrigan family’s support for Mark Kerrigan made for “complicated dynamics” during the trial and could have been taken into consideration by the jury. Despite the verdict, prosecutors believe Kerrigan caused his father’s death, he said.