In a letter sent to relatives and friends today, Olympic skater Nancy Kerrigan called her late father "her safety net'' and said she does not believe her brother should face criminal charges for his alleged role in 70-year-old Daniel Kerrigan's death.
"He was someone who took an interest in everyone that he came in contact with and, if he knew you much at all, had an endearing wisecrack that would be sure to make you laugh,'' she wrote of her father in the letter, which was released by her spokeswoman today. "For me, he was my safety net."
In the letter, Kerrigan said her family supports her brother, Mark, whom authorities allege got into a fight with their father inside their Stoneham home last month, a struggle that the medical examiner has ruled contributed to his father's death.
On Tuesday, Middlesex District Attorney Gerard T. Leone Jr.'s office said the medical examiner's office had concluded Daniel Kerrigan's death was a homicide resulting from the fight with the son coupled with a pre-existing cardiac condition. Leone has not decided whether to upgrade charges against the son, who has pleaded not guilty to assault and battery with a dangerous weapon charges.
But Nancy Kerrigan made her views clear in the two-page letter that also updates people on upbeat happenings within her family.
"It has been a sad moment for us all,'' Kerrigan wrote. "And it isnít over yet, particularly with the ruling this week about the cause of my dadís death; a ruling by the way which we think was unjustified and which we plan to help my brother fight.''
Separately, Mark Kerrigan's defense attorney, Janice Bassil, said in an interview today that Daniel Kerrigan's death may turn out to be an accident that would not merit a criminal charge.
"Sometimes, things are accidents,'' said Bassil, a highly respected Boston defense attorney who has defended numerous clients with mental health issues who were charged with murder. Mark Kerrigan has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder due to Army service, his first attorney said in court.
Bassil said it was possible that Daniel Kerrigan had an undiagnosed medical condition that was the primary cause of his death. Bassil also said she will have defense experts review the medical examiner's autopsy of Daniel Kerrigan.
"It just leaves a lot of questions in my mind about what the cause of death is, '' Bassil said.
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