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.”