Brother of skater Nancy Kerrigan free of prison, against his wishes

CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts Wed Aug 8, 2012 3:20pm EDT

US Olympic silver medal figure skater Nancy Kerrigan throws out the first ball at the Baseball Boston Red Sox home opener against the Detroit Tigers at Fenway Park in Boston, April 4

US Olympic silver medal figure skater Nancy Kerrigan throws out the first ball at the Baseball Boston Red Sox home opener against the Detroit Tigers at Fenway Park in Boston, April 4

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CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts (Reuters) - The brother of Olympic figure skater Nancy Kerrigan is a free man - even if he does not want to be.

Mark Kerrigan was sentenced last year to 2-1/2 years in prison for physically attacking their 70-year-old father, who died during the struggle.

He was released early on probation last month but then asked to be returned to prison to finish serving his sentence for assault and battery.

On Wednesday, Middlesex County Superior Court Judge Kathe Tuttman found he had not violated his probation and therefore must continue his two-year probation term, which ends on July 27, 2014, outside jail, said Coria Holland, a spokeswoman for the Massachusetts Office of the Commissioner of Probation.

Kerrigan's probation conditions require him to attend Alcohol Anonymous meetings, seek mental health counseling and undergo treatment programs for anger management and battering.

It was not known why Kerrigan wanted to return to jail. His attorney did not immediately respond to phone messages seeking comment. Prosecutors declined to comment on the decision.

Nancy Kerrigan sought leniency for her brother at his sentencing hearing in May of last year. The two-time Olympic medalist was not in court on Wednesday, Holland said.

Prosecutors earlier said Mark Kerrigan had a criminal record dating back 30 years and that his father Daniel Kerrigan had died from cardiac dysrhythmia triggered by the struggle over using the family telephone on January 23, 2010.

Kerrigan was acquitted of the more serious charge of manslaughter.

The ice skater and her family stood by her brother throughout the trial last year, saying the death was not his fault and that the elder Kerrigan had a pre-existing heart condition.

Nancy Kerrigan was thrust into the spotlight ahead of the 1994 Winter Olympics, when she was clubbed just above the knee at skating championships in Detroit in an attack planned by skating rival Tonya Harding's ex-husband and bodyguard.

She recovered and went on to win a silver medal seven weeks later at the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway. She also won a bronze medal at the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, France.

(Editing by Barbara Goldberg ad Mohammad Zargham)

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