The arrest of figure skater Nancy Kerrigan's brother, Mark Kerrigan, on charges of assaulting her father, who later died, left fans stunned at the Olympic medalist's continuing string of troubles. But for Mark Kerrigan's ex-wife, Janet Kerrigan, the allegations of violence came as no surprise.
"Did I think he was capable of killing someone?" said Janet Kerrigan of her ex. "Absolutely. But I'll tell you, I never thought he was capable of killing his father."
Police responded Jan. 25 to the Stoneham, Mass., home of Daniel Kerrigan, 70, at 1:30 a.m. and found him "in need of medical attention." He was taken to nearby Winchester Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Mark Kerrigan, 45, his son, was charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon on an elderly person and causing serious bodily injury. Mark Kerrigan was not charged with murder.
Nancy Kerrigan, meanwhile, was "very upset," said fellow figure skater Paul Wylie.
"I reached out to Nancy because I had heard the news through Facebook, and I wanted to call her immediately and see how she was," Wylie said. "She was very upset, and I ... said, 'We're really there for you, and we love you, and are pulling for you.' I left that as a message, and she called me back and just said 'thank you for calling,' that she was hanging in there."
His ex-wife Janet Kerrigan said that Mark Kerrigan often physically attacked her.
"Did I dodge a bullet?" said Janet Kerrigan. "More than once. Did I ever think that Mark could kill me? That thought went through my head."
"[Mark Kerrigan] threw me in the bedroom and choked me," she said. "I literally closed my eyes and looked up and said to myself, 'I love you guys,' meaning my kids. I thought I was going to die. ... I figured he would change. I gave him many chances. I couldn't walk away from someone who needed support, help, a mother figure. I couldn't walk away. But finally, watching him chase my daughter with hunting knives, I'd rather get her, pack us up and go."
The couple divorced in 2007.
A message left for Mark Kerrigan's lawyer was not immediately returned.
Nancy Kerrigan's professional success was hard for her brother, Janet Kerrigan said.
"I think any brother or sister would be jealous, not just Mark," she said. "He was. He had a lot of jealousy in him. He always seemed like he wanted to prove something to his father."
Wylie said Daniel Kerrigan was crucial to helping his daughter pull through after she was attacked in 1994 in a plot led by Jeff Gillooly, the ex-husband of skating rival Tonya Harding.
"I was on tour when the attack in Detroit happened, but throughout the time that she prepared for [the] Lillehammer [Olympics], it was so much about how [her father] would support her through the difficulties," said Wylie, "and with the way that she was preparing, she totally relied on her family."
"Dan was a great dad," Wylie continued. "He was always there for Nancy. He drove her to the rink and was very sacrificial in his work schedule and the things that he did in order to get her on the ice and make sure she stayed on the ice. If you think about the Olympics and when she was going through all she was going through, he was really a rock for her and for Brenda, Nancy's mom. He's a great model for a dad."