- Associated Press - Monday, February 14, 2011

WOBURN, Mass. | The brother of figure skater Nancy Kerrigan was sent to jail Monday after failing required alcohol screenings while awaiting trial on manslaughter charges in the death of his father.

Mark Kerrigan blamed cough syrup for the test results, but a judge revoked his bail and ordered Kerrigan to be taken into custody.

Kerrigan had been free on $25,000 bail after pleading not guilty to manslaughter last year.

Prosecutors said Kerrigan failed four breath tests in a half-hour period Saturday night at his home in Stoneham. The readings, which ranged from .025 to .036, were below the legal driving limit of .08, but violate the conditions of Kerrigan’s bail, which included that he not drink alcohol and that he be given random drug and alcohol screenings.

Prosecutors say 70-year-old Daniel Kerrigan died in January 2010 after a fight with his son, who had been drinking. Kerrigan’s lawyer and family say Daniel Kerrigan had a heart condition and his son was not responsible for his death.

“It’s a very serious violation in light of this case and the circumstances,” Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Keeley said during a hearing in Woburn Superior Court.

Kerrigan’s lawyer, Janice Bassil, said Kerrigan told her that he had taken cough syrup because he has a bad cold.

“He informed me that he had taken a bunch of cough syrup,” she said.

Bassil argued that over-the-counter cough syrup can have high alcohol content and asked Judge Joseph Walker to allow Kerrigan to remain free on bail.

“He has been compliant with all of the conditions set for him by probation,” she said.

The judge denied the request, but said he may be willing to reconsider if the defense is able to show that Kerrigan had taken only cough medicine.

Bassil told the judge she plans to try to retrieve the bottle of cough syrup from Kerrigan’s house, have it tested for alcohol content and ask Kerrigan’s mother to submit an affidavit to verify that Kerrigan did drink the medicine.

Michael DelSignore, a Stoughton attorney who specializes in defending people arrested for drunken driving, said there is no way to tell whether the levels of alcohol in Kerrigan’s test results come from alcohol in cough syrup or from alcoholic drinks.

“Breathalyzer machines cannot distinguish between alcohol that comes from liquor and alcohol that comes from cough syrup,” DelSignore said.

Kerrigan, 46, is due in court Thursday for a hearing on a defense motion to suppress statements he made to police at his home and at the police station after his father died.

Story Continues →