Olympian's brother cleared of manslaughter in father's death

Reuters News
Posted: May 25, 2011 4:59 PM
Olympian's brother cleared of manslaughter in father's death

BOSTON (Reuters) - Mark Kerrigan, the brother of U.S. Olympic figure skater Nancy Kerrigan, was acquitted on Wednesday of manslaughter in the death of his 70-year-old father.

However, Kerrigan, 46, was found guilty of assault and battery by the jury in Middlesex Superior Court in Woburn, Massachusetts.

Prosecutors argued that Daniel Kerrigan died from cardiac dysrhythmia triggered by a physical struggle with his son in an argument over using the family telephone on January 23, 2010.

The ice skater, 41, and her family stood by her brother throughout the trial, which began on May 13, saying the death was not his fault. They say the elder Kerrigan had a preexisting heart condition.

After the verdict, the two-time Olympic medalist made a brief statement outside the courthouse.

"My family has never believed at all that my brother had anything to do with my father's death, and my dad would never have wanted any of this," she said. "That's it. Thank you."

The skater did not testify at her brother's trial. A sentencing hearing was set for Thursday, and he could face a maximum of two-and-a-half years in prison, attorneys said.

Nancy Kerrigan was thrust into the spotlight ahead of the 1994 Winter Olympics, when she was clubbed just above the knee at skating championships in Detroit in an attack planned by skating rival Tonya Harding's ex-husband and bodyguard.

She recovered and went on to win a silver medal seven weeks later at the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer. She also won a bronze medal at the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, France.

(Reporting by Marcia Scott Harrison; Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Jerry Norton)