Posted on Jul 03, 2007

The steroid rumors have become more legitimate in the double-slaying/suicide committed by pro wrestler Chris Benoit last month in Fayetteville, Ga. Considering the “Incredible Hulk” physique of Benoit and his marital strife, many wonder if drugs triggered the events that left an autistic 7-year-old smothered to death and wife strangled to death before the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) star hanged himself.

Benoit’s Doctor Indicted Over Drug Prescriptions

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) reported July 2 a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent filed a seven-count affidavit that maintained a Dr. Phil Astin prescribed a 10-month supply of injectable anabolic steroids every three-to-four weeks from may 2006 to May 2007 to the pro wrestler. A federal indictment said Dr. Astin prescribed drugs including Percoset, Xanax, Lorcet and Vicoprofen to patients referred to as O.G and M.J. Astin pled not guilty in court July 2. Toxicology tests on Benoit are incomplete.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Linda Walker ordered Dr.Astin held on $125,000 bond. The doctor was placed on house arrest until bond was posted.

On June 29, DEA Agent Anissa Jones filed a criminal complaint against the doctor, saying 1 million doses of controlled substances Dr. Astin prescribed the last two years was “excessive” for a sole practitioner in rural Carrollton, 40 miles west of Atlanta. One of the drugs prescribed by Dr. Astin was the anabolic steroid, testosterone cypionate.

Each count of the indictment carries a 20-year prison sentence. U.S. Attorney David Nahmias said. According to U.S. Attorney John Horn, Dr. Astin had Benoit’s medical record on his presence when the doctor’s office was served with a search warrant, prompting the official to believe the doctor may have tampered with evidence. Dr. Astin’s attorney, Manny Arora denied the allegation.

Experts Struggle With “Why?”

Fayette County District Attorney Scott Ballard is searching for an explanation. “There can’t be any satisfactory reason why you kill a 7-year-old.” Ballard told the Associated Press. Ten empty beer cans were found at Benoit’s home and an empty wine bottle was near where Benoit, 40, hanged himself from a fitness machine cable. Anabolic steroids also were found at the scene.

Benoit visited the office of his friend, Dr. Astin June 22, the alleged day Benoit killed his family, then himself. Dr. Astin has not said what, if any medications were prescribed to Benoit that day.

Then again, it might have been just rage that pushed Benoit to kill his son, Daniel and wife, Nancy. The AJC reported WWE lawyer Jerry McDevitt said Benoit argued with his wife regarding the medical care for Daniel. “They were constantly struggling with the difficulties of raising a child, who, from all indications, may well have had Fragile X Syndrome.” The disease is a form of mental retardation accompanied by autism.

The Boy Who Was Choked to Death Loved His Dad

It had been reported the wrestler’s wife wanted her husband at home to help with Daniel’s care. She recently underwent neck surgery and was in pain. “Chris was traveling and she was trying to deal with the problem on her own,” McDevitt said.

Until the autopsy report is released, there is only speculation. Dr. Astin said Benoit did not seem upset on the June 22 office visit. The pastor at Benoit’s church called the father, “loving and caring.” Wrestling officials claim angst in the marriage -- how to care for the child, where to send him to school and Benoit’s heavy travel schedule – as possible causes for Benoit’s actions that day. For now, no one knows which drugs, if any, were in Benoit’s system at the time of the slayings.

Shocking is the boy loved his father. The last thing Daniel looked at before closing his eyes at night were pictures of his father taped to the bedroom wall. Based on that, how does a father apply a fatal choke-hold to his only child?

Even the experts -- doctors, ministers, friends, family and fellow wrestlers -- can’t answer that one.