WOBURN (CBS/AP) – An “angry, mean, nasty, drunk son” killed Nancy Kerrigan’s father, a prosecutor told jurors Monday in the manslaughter trial of the Olympic skater’s brother, while a defense attorney said it was longstanding heart disease that caused the man’s death.
WBZ-TV’s Diana Perez reports.
Mark Kerrigan, 46, is charged in the January 2010 death of his 70-year-old father, Daniel Kerrigan at the family’s home in Stoneham, just north of Boston.
The jury deliberated for four and a half hours without a verdict on Monday.
During closing arguments, assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Keeley told the jury that Mark Kerrigan caused his father’s death after he grabbed him around the neck, breaking cartilage in his larynx and triggering heart failure.
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Although Daniel Kerrigan had been diagnosed with coronary artery disease seven years earlier, he had remained physically active, mowing his lawn, plowing his driveway and using a chain saw to chop up a tree limb in the months before his death, Keeley said.
She challenged Kerrigan’s mother’s description of the fight between Mark Kerrigan and his father as appearing like the two men were in a “bear hug.”
“You know, ladies and gentlemen, that it would take a lot more than a bear hug to bring that man down,” Keeley said. “It took this defendant — an angry, mean, nasty, drunk son of his to take Daniel Kerrigan down, to end his life.”
But Kerrigan’s lawyer, Janice Bassil, told the jury there is no evidence that the seconds-long fight was violent or that Mark Kerrigan’s actions triggered the cardiac dysrhythmia that killed him.
Bassil cited medical testimony from experts on both sides that Daniel Kerrigan had 85 percent to 100 percent blockage of three main coronary arteries.
She also cited testimony from defense experts who said Daniel Kerrigan’s fatal dysrhythmia likely began before he had any physical interaction with his son.
Bassil cited testimony from family members who said Daniel Kerrigan had slowed down physically and appeared tired and grayish in color in the days and weeks before his death.
She also cited testimony from his wife, Brenda, who said she did not see her son grab her husband around the neck, but instead described a very brief physical encounter between the two men that ended with her husband falling to the floor “like a feather.”
“They can’t prove that Mark Kerrigan deliberately hit his father. They can’t prove that Mark Kerrigan deliberately broke his father’s cartilage or that he killed him,” said Bassil. “Mark Kerrigan loved his father then and he loves him now.”
Kerrigan is charged with involuntary manslaughter and assault and battery on a person 60 years or older causing serious bodily injury.
The Kerrigan family has supported Mark Kerrigan. Nancy Kerrigan has been in court every day of the weeklong trial.
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