Mark Kerrigan had been free on $25,000 bail after pleading not guilty to manslaughter last year. A judge revoked Kerrigan's bail Monday after prosecutors said he failed four breath tests in a half-hour period Saturday night.
The readings, which ranged from .025 to .036, were below the legal driving limit of .08. Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Keeley said the readings - taken at Kerrigan's Stoneham home - violate the conditions of Kerrigan's bail, which included that he not drink any 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," 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 a 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.
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.
The judge said he may be willing to revisit the bail issue if the defense is able to show that Kerrigan had taken only medicine.