Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Edge Health; AP Photo/Pool, Ted Fitzgerald
You could say he didn't completely skate...
A jury in Woburn, Mass., today acquitted Nancy Kerrigan's brother of manslaughter in the death of their 70-year-old father. However Mark Kerrigan was convicted of assault and battery stemming from the fight he and his septugenerian dad, Daniel Kerrigan, had last year at the family home.
While the latter charge is not as serious, it still carries a maximum prison term of two and a half years.
The Olympic figure skater's 46-year-old sibling was arrested in 2010 after he got into an ugly argument with the elder Kerrigan over the use of a house phone. Prosecutors claimed a drunken Mark, who has a history of violence and mental illness, grabbed his father by the neck, causing a compression fracture and rendering Daniel unconscious.
Despite their mother Brenda's belief that her husband died of natural causes, most likely a heart attack, the coroner ruled Kerrigan's death a homicide and the Middlesex D.A. charged the plumber with manslaughter and assault and battery on an elderly person.
After learning the jury's verdict in Middlesex Superior Court, Mark Kerrigan showed little emotion while 41-year-old Nancy and her mom hugged and cried.
Outside the courthouse, the two-time medalist told reporters that she and Brenda stood by her brother and were looking forward to getting on with their lives.
"My family has never believed at all that my brother had anything to do with my father's death," Kerrigan said. "My dad never would have wanted any of this."
Lawyers for Mark challenged the autopsy results during the trial and suggested that Daniel, who had high blood pressure and diabetes, had suffered from coronary artery disease and it was that which killed him, not the scuffle with his son.
After two days of deliberations, panelists bought the defense's argument, despite the prosecutions's contention otherwise.
Kerrigan's sentencing is set for Thursday morning and Nancy is expected to offer up a victim impact statement asking the judge to give Mark the minimum jail term.
UPDATE May 26, 2011, at 5:26 p.m. PT: An emotional Nancy Kerrigan begged for leniency for her brother during the sentencing hearing. "None of us has had a chance to grieve for my father," she said. "Please send [Mark] home with us today so we can grieve as a family." However, the judge was not moved, and ordered Mark serve the maximum 2 1/2 years for his conviction.