Nancy Kerrigan's Father Daniel Kerrigan Was Murdered, Say Prosecutors After Autopsy Results

(AP Photo/Susan Walsh, file)
(AP Photo/Greg M. Cooper)
(AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
BOSTON (CBS/AP) Nancy Kerrigan's father was murdered.

Photo: Daniel and Brenda Kerrigan in 1994.

PICTURES: Nancy Kerrigan Family Tragedy

That is what prosecutors are saying Tuesday after an autopsy showed Daniel Kerrigan died of a heart rhythm problem after a fight with his son in which he suffered a neck injury so severe it damaged his windpipe.

The death has now been ruled a homicide.

The findings could prompt new charges against the Olympic skater's brother, Mark Kerrigan, who has pleaded not guilty to assault and is undergoing a psychiatric evaluation.

Photo: Mark Kerrigan, 45, brother of figure skater Nancy Kerrigan, is led in handcuffs.

PICTURES: Nancy Kerrigan Family Tragedy

Daniel Kerrigan, 70, died Jan. 24 after what authorities said was a struggle with his 45-year-old son.

Police say Mark Kerrigan told them he put his hands around his father's neck and his father fell to the floor after the two argued at their Stoneham, Mass., home, outside Boston.

Photo: Nancy Kerrigan at St. Patrick Church in Stoneham, Mass. after the funeral for her father Daniel Kerrigan.

PICTURES: Nancy Kerrigan Family Tragedy

Family members had initially said Daniel Kerrigan had a heart attack and his death was unrelated to the argument.

The autopsy report released Tuesday by Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone said the elder Kerrigan also had underlying health conditions, including high blood pressure and clogged heart arteries.

The findings imply a strangulation-type injury in a man already weakened by high blood pressure and clogged heart arteries, said an expert not connected with the autopsy, Dr. Ian Paul, associate medical examiner for the state of New Mexico.

"The assault itself would have caused significant physiological stress," Paul said. "It would have put direct stress to the heart itself because the heart is working faster, and in somebody with underlying heart disease, they would be at a much greater risk of experiencing sudden cardiac death."

PICTURES: Nancy Kerrigan Family Tragedy

January 26, 2010 - Tonya Harding to Nancy Kerrigan: You Have My "Deepest Sympathy"
January 25, 2010 - Nancy Kerrigan's Family Defends Mark Kerrigan in Father's Death
January 25, 2010 - Mark Kerrigan: I Didn't Attack My Dad Daniel Kerrigan
January 25, 2010 - Nancy Kerrigan Family Tragedy: Daniel Kerrigan Sued Son Mark Kerrigan for $100K
January 25, 2010 - Nancy Kerrigan's Brother Mark Kerrigan Charged in Connection with Father's Death