Nancy Kerrigan’s Life Touched By Tragedy Once Again

American ice skating icon Nancy Kerrigan.
American ice skating icon Nancy Kerrigan

American ice skating legend Nancy Kerrigan’s father has been murdered by her own brother, according to cnn.com. Nancy’s brother Mark, 45, was arrested Sunday and is accused of assault and battery against their father, 70-year old Daniel Kerrigan, according to Massachusetts authorities.

Apparently there was a violent argument and struggle between the father and son, resulting in the elder Kerrigan falling or collapsing on the kitchen floor. Nancy’s mother Brenda then called 911 to assist her husband.

Authorities are still investigating the the circumstances of the incident along with the cause and manner of death. The county medical examiner is expected to release a report within a manner of weeks.

When police arrived on the scene, they found Mark Kerrigan in the basement of the house, “clearly intoxicated” and “extremely combative.” He refused to comply with police officers, had to be subdued with pepper spray before forcibly removing him from the home.

Mark Kerrigan pleaded not guilty during his arraignment. According to court documents, he was unemployed, was recently released from a correctional facility, and was living at home with his parents. He is taking medications and seeking psychological help for post-traumatic stress, apparently from a stint in the Army.

Nancy Kerrigan first gained prominence by winning a bronze medal at the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, France. In 1994 she earned an Olympic silver medal in Lillehammer, Norway.

MYOB?!

Baby slapper busted.
Baby slapper busted.

Roger Stephens, 61, chose to endanger the welfare of a child, rather than defend it. While shopping at a Stone Mountain, GA, Wal-Mart, Stephens warned the mother of a crying toddler, “If you don’t shut that baby up I will shut her up for you.” The child continued to cry, and Stephens made good on his threat, slapping the two-year-old several times. He was arrested for felony cruelty to children and held without bond.

When it comes to the welfare of children, it is the responsibility of society to tirelessly defend their rights. If you see something hinky going on that involves a child, step up and do the right thing. Don’t worry about being PC. It’s in worrying about our own status that we fail our children.

Digging for the Truth

Authorities have completed the search of Phillip & Nancy Garrido’s property, as well as that of their neighbor’s, where a bone fragment was found. Police do not at this time know the origins of the fragment, and are having it tested to see if it is human or animal in nature.

The four-day search included the Garrido home and backyard, which contained a tent-and-shed compound that housed Jaycee Dugard during the 18 years she was allegedly held captive by the couple. The neighboring property was also searched, as Phillip Garrido may have served as caretaker at one time or another.

Recent reports mention the possibility of Phillip Garrido’s alleged connection to a number of child abductions in the Antioch, CA, area where he resides, which occurred in the late 1980s prior to Jaycee Dugard’s kidnapping. Local authorities are also looking into any ties between Garrido and a string of murders involving prostitutes. No evidence has been provided to confirm these allegations. At this time, Phillip & Nancy Garrido have pleaded not guilty to the charges made against them.

Authorities search the property of the couple charged with kidnapping Jaycee Dugard in 1991.
Authorities search the property of the couple charged with kidnapping Jaycee Dugard in 1991.

Defending DNA?

The infallibility of DNA is in question after Israeli researchers discover the genetic code can be forged.
The infallibility of DNA is in question after Israeli researchers discover the genetic code can be forged.

Scientists: DNA Evidence Can Be Fabricated

Observing the use of DNA evidence in the judicial system during the past 20 years has been exciting for this forensics nerd. The potential for further analysis to narrow an individual’s genome code and separate it from other suspects has grown exponentially. The judicial system has experienced what you might call growing pains–several states have called moratoriums on death penalty cases, while other states have had case reviews if DNA is present but was not eligible for testing when the case was first tried in court. What has since come to pass is a number of people have been exonerated–cleared of the crime they were convicted of–due to the introduction of DNA evidence. In other cases, some individuals remain incarcerated because the DNA proved that person’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Or so we thought.

So now what is our less-than-stellar justice system supposed to do since a group of Israeli researchers have reported that DNA can be fabricated? Where does that leave us? I realize that the average criminal isn’t going to bother going to all of the trouble to plant someone else’s DNA at a crime scene, but anything is possible in these troubled times. Our country was making strides in improving the weaknesses in our justice system, yet now we have to defend the one piece of evidence that we wholeheartedly (or rather foolheartedly) believed in, thanks to TV shows like CSI, Forensic Files, Dateline, and 48 Hours Mystery. This new finding brings up so many unanswered questions. Have we been wrong about DNA all along?