Ex-Wife Says Kerrigan Brother 'Capable of Killing'

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.

'He Had a Lot of Jealousy'

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."

But there were signs that the relationship between father and son was not easy. According to civil documents obtained by the Boston Globe, Daniel and Brenda Kerrigan sued Mark for $105,000 for money spent to take care of his dogs and pay his mortgage and lawyers' fees. The case was dismissed.

Police said Mark and Daniel Kerrigan fought on the night of the father's death.

"He [Mark Kerrigan] stated that he wanted to use the phone, and his father would not let him,'' a Stoneham police report filed in court said. "He said that he struggled with his father and put his hands around his father's neck, and his father fell to the floor. He said that his father was faking it.''

Nancy Kerrigan won a silver medal at the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway. She became the center of a media firestorm when, a month before the games, she was attacked.

Kerrigan retired from active competition after the 1994 Olympics. She has appeared in occasional skating exhibitions, and had a small part in the 2007 Will Ferrell film "Blades of Glory."

In 1995, Kerrigan married her agent, Jerry Solomon. They live a few miles away from her parents' home in Lynnfield, Mass. Calls from ABCNews.com to Solomon requesting comment were not immediately returned.

Janet Kerrigan said she had advice for anyone in a physically abusive relationship. "Get out," she said. "Get out. It doesn't get better. It gets worse. If you look at what happened to me, and see and hear and believe, and the outcome was a death, granted it wasn't me, it was the father killed.

"When I heard that it was Danny, my heart broke. There was no need for Danny to die that way. No need."