Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Arrests Ordered in Kerrigan Case Police Issue Warrants; 2nd Confession Alleged

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Arrests Ordered in Kerrigan Case Police Issue Warrants; 2nd Confession Alleged

Article excerpt

Arrest warrants have been issued in connection with the attack on Olympic skater Nancy Kerrigan, authorities said Thursday. ABC News reported that a second person had confessed to the plot, said to involve Tonya Harding's former husband and bodyguard.

The FBI arrested a man at Portland Airport on a flight from Phoenix, Ariz., but a port of Portland spokesman, Doug Roberts, refused to give any details about him. ABC identified the man as Derrick Smith of Phoenix and said he was believed to be involved in a conspiracy to injure Kerrigan.

The network also described Steve Stant of Portland as the man who carried out the attack on Kerrigan at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Detroit on Jan. 6.

A Detroit television station aired a videotape of a man being arrested at the Portland airport and identified him as a man from Phoenix who was suspected of being tied to a conspiracy to injure Kerrigan.

Benny Napoleon, Detroit's deputy police chief, said that "warrants have been issued," but he did not specify the number of warrants or who had been named. Portland authorities refused to confirm that warrants had been issued but said they expected to make arrests Thursday on conspiracy charges.

Earlier Thursday, Boston television station WCVB reported that warrants were issued in Portland for Harding's former husband, Jeff Gillooly; bodyguard Shawn Eric Eckardt; Smith; and Stant. The station also reported that Harding was named in the warrants, but authorities in Portland and Detroit denied that.

Eckardt told authorities that Gillooly, from whom Harding was divorced last year, had asked him to arrange the attack, The Oregonian newspaper of Portland reported Thursday in a copyrighted story. It quoted unidentified law enforcement sources.

Bart Whalen, a spokesman for the Multnomah County Sheriff's Department, said the charge of conspiracy to commit assault was a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $100,000 fine.

After Kerrigan was clubbed on the knee, she was forced to withdraw from the figure skating championships, raising doubts about her ability to compete in the Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, Feb. 12-27.

The U.S. Figure Skating Association named Kerrigan to the Olympic team anyway, along with Harding, 23, who went on to win the championship. Kerrigan won a bronze medal at the 1992 Winter Games in Albertville, France.

Harding and Gillooly were divorced Aug. 28, according to Columbia County court documents, but they later reconciled and have lived together since October.

At the Detroit news conference Thursday, Napoleon, the deputy police chief, said a woman from out-of-state called the police department Saturday and insisted on speaking with him.

"The call was transferred to my home, and I had a conversation with the person that was approximately 30 minutes long," Napoleon said.

"That, I perceived to be, from our perspective, the first real break. …

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