The DA, in making the medical examiner's autopsy results known, labels the death a murder, angering the family

By Stephen M. Silverman
February 09, 2010 01:45 PM
Ron Galella/WireImage

An assault, compounded with an already-compromised medical condition, led to the death of Olympic skater Nancy Kerrigan’s father, Daniel Kerrigan, according to the Middlesex, Mass., District Attorney – who also announced Tuesday that the death would be treated as a homicide.

The statement from the office of DA Gerry Leone said, in part: “The Medical Examiner determined that the cause of death was cardiac dysrhytmia following a physical altercation with neck compression causing injury to the neck in the form of a cartilage fracture to the larynx area, in a person with hypertensive and atherosclerotic cardiovascular heart disease.”
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It also stated: “The corresponding manner of death has been ruled a homicide.”

Daniel Kerrigan, 70, was found unresponsive at his Stoneham, Mass., home on Sunday morning, Jan. 24. He was later pronounced dead at Winchester Hospital.

Kerrigan, who was a U.S. Army veteran, died after a violent struggle with his son, Mark Kerrigan, 45.

The younger Kerrigan was charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon on an elderly person and causing serious bodily injury. A police report filed in court says the son attacked his father during an argument about whether he could use the phone.

“The Kerrigan family is extremely disappointed that the medical examiner would release a cause of death without having all of the relevant facts,” says family attorney Tracy Miner. “We believe this finding to be premature and inaccurate.
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Miner adds: “The Kerrigan family does not blame anyone for the unfortunate death of Dan Kerrigan, who had a pre-existing heart condition.”

The funeral and burial of Daniel Kerrigan took place Jan. 28.

Leone’s statement also said: “As a result of these conclusions of the Medical Examiner, the investigation into Daniel Kerrigan’s death, and whether any charges in connection with his death are appropriate, remains ongoing.”

Mark Kerrigan and sister Nancy
AP; Getty