Nancy Kerrigan’s dad dies; brother accused of assault
Associated Press Writer
WOBURN, Mass. – The brother of figure skater Nancy Kerrigan pleaded not guilty Monday to assaulting their 70-year-old father, who died over the weekend after a disturbance at the family’s Massachusetts home.
Mark Kerrigan, 45, described by his lawyer as an unemployed plumber, was ordered held on $10,000 cash bail after his arraignment Monday in Woburn District Court. A not guilty plea was entered on behalf of Kerrigan, who did not speak at the hearing but put his head in his hands and wept at one point.
“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.
A police report said officers responding to a 911 call at 1:30 a.m. Sunday found Daniel Kerrigan lying on the floor unconscious. He was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead. An autopsy was planned.
The report said Mark Kerrigan was found on a couch in the basement of the home in the middle-class Boston suburb of Stoneham and was “belligerent and combative” when questioned. Officers used pepper spray to subdue him and eventually arrested him.
“(Mark) Kerrigan appeared intoxicated but appeared coherent in understanding questions and answering them,” the report stated.
“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.
The officers said they saw blood on the floor near where Daniel Kerrigan had been treated by emergency workers, as well as signs of a struggle, including three pictures that had apparently been knocked off the wall and a broken piece of the telephone.
A woman who answered the phone at a listing for Daniel Kerrigan identified herself only as “Dan’s sister” and said her brother “had a massive heart attack.” She said her nephew played no part in the death and declined to comment further.
Brenda Kerrigan, Daniel Kerrigan’s wife, told the Boston Herald that her husband died of a heart attack and there was nothing suspicious about the death.
In arguing for the bail, Healey cited Mark Kerrigan’s “lengthy” criminal record, including arrests for assault and battery, assault with a dangerous weapon, malicious destruction and violation of a restraining order. Court records showed the charges were related to Mark Kerrigan’s wife, Janet, though it wasn’t immediately clear whether they were still together.
Kerrigan was released from jail in 2007 and had been living at his parents’ home. Healey said.
Defense attorney Denise Moore argued for no bail, citing strong ties to the area.
“He is extremely distraught over the death of his father and denies any responsibility,” Moore said in court. She said her client, an Army veteran who had served overseas, was on medication for post-traumatic stress syndrome and was seeing a psychiatrist.
Nancy Kerrigan and other members of the family were not in court for the arraignment. Jim Day, who described himself as a family friend who has known the Kerrigan children since they were very young, said outside the courthouse that the family was grieving.
“They have lost a husband, a father, a brother, a grandfather, someone that they loved very dearly,” said Day, who described Daniel Kerrigan as a devoted husband and father.
“If you look in the dictionary and wanted the definition of a man and father was, that was Danny Kerrigan,” Day said.
The elder Kerrigan was a welder. A death notice published Monday by The Boston Globe said he was also an Army veteran and had another son, Michael, with Brenda Kerrigan.
Stoneham and state police assigned to the Middlesex district attorney’s office are continuing the investigation, Police Chief Richard Bongiorno said. The chief would not say if he knew whether police had been called to the home in the past for domestic reasons.
Nancy Kerrigan is a two-time Olympic medal winner, taking the bronze medal at the 1992 Olympics in Albertville, France, and the silver at the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway. She won a gold medal at the 1993 U.S. Championships.
She was at the center of a saga at the U.S. Championships before the 1994 Games, when an assailant clubbed her right knee during practice and an investigation revealed rival Tonya Harding had knowledge of the planning of the attack.
Nancy Kerrigan married her manager, Jerry Solomon, in 1995. They live in Lynnfield and have three children together. A message left with Solomon was not immediately returned.
Kerrigan and Solomon established the Nancy Kerrigan Foundation, which supports the vision impaired in honor of Brenda Kerrigan, who is legally blind.
A funeral Mass was scheduled for Thursday.
Associated Press writer Bob Salsberg in Boston contributed to this report.
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