The man responsible for the whack heard ‘round the world emerged from prison on Friday, and said he was sorry for clubbing figure skater Nancy Kerrigan in the leg.
Shane Stant, 24, a one-time Coeur d’Alene resident, is remembered in Kootenai County as an arrogant rough-and-tumble muscle-flexer who worked as a busboy but fancied himself a bounty hunter and martial arts expert.
Friday, he left the Santiam Correctional Facility with a new high school diploma, a new ponytail and a new attitude.
“I’m really sorry for what I’ve done,” Stant said of the attack. “I’ve kind of waited to say I was sorry to Nancy Kerrigan. I didn’t think it would sound sincere if I said it before I got sentenced.”
“But I don’t think I will bother her because she probably just wants to put this behind her.”
The leg injury prevented Kerrigan from competing in the 1994 U.S. figure skating championship.
Stant served 14 months for his conviction on a charge of conspiracy to commit assault. He was one of five people, including Kerrigan’s Olympic rival Tonya Harding, who pleaded guilty to criminal charges in the attack.
Stant used a metal police baton to hit her above the right knee after a practice session for the U.S. championships at Detroit in January 1994. In Kerrigan’s absence, Harding went on to win the U.S. title.
Harding pleaded guilty to helping cover up the plot, but denied knowing of it before it was carried out. A grand jury and a U.S. Figure Skating Association disciplinary panel believed otherwise, concluding that she was in on it from the start.
Harding was sentenced to probation and was the only one of the five not to go to prison.
Stant, who had once cared for elderly patients in his family’s adult foster home, moved to Kootenai County in 1991. By that time, friends and relatives said, the body builder had turned mean and aggressive from steroid use.
“He would do things like ram his shoulders into doors,” stepfather Ron Parmele once said.
Stant also was arrested twice here during his nine-month stay. He spent 15 days in jail after he and his friends stole several cars and went joyriding. He also was arrested for allegedly trying to steal suntan lotion from Safeway.
Friday, Stant said he had learned a lesson in prison.
“Basically not to be selfish and to think about other people and how they feel,” he said. “It wasn’t a bad experience at all. I guess it’s what you make out of it.”
During his term, Stant worked in several areas of the prison, including the state slaughterhouse, and earned his GED certificate, the equivalent of a high school diploma, said Perrin Damon, spokeswoman for the Department of Corrections.
Wearing black sweat pants and a gray T-shirt, and his hair in a short ponytail, Stant was greeted by his parents at the Santiam Correctional Institution. As he walked away from the prison carrying a clear garbage sack full of papers and books, other inmates yelled from the window.
“See you, Shane. Stay out, man,” one inmate shouted.
Stant was released about four months early, due to credit earned for good behavior and jail time already served. Prison officials said he would serve 36 months of postprison supervision in Linn County.
Stant’s uncle, Derrick Smith, who drove the getaway car, is to be released from prison next week. Harding’s ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly, was freed in March after having his sentence cut short because he spent the final six months in a prison boot camp. Gillooly changed his name to Jeff Stone while at the camp.
The final conspirator, Shawn Eckardt, is to be released in September.
Kerrigan recovered in time to win a silver medal at the 1994 Winter Olympics. Harding went to court to protect her chance to compete but finished eighth in Lillehammer.
Later, the figure skating association stripped her of her U.S. title and banned her from competition for life.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color Photo
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