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Chris Beniot kills family and then hangs himself

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Wrestler strangled wife, suffocated son, hanged himself in weight room; police offer no motive

By GREG BLUESTEIN, Associated Press Writer

June 26, 2007

FAYETTEVILLE, Ga. (AP) -- Pro wrestler Chris Benoit strangled his wife, suffocated his 7-year-old son and placed a Bible next to their bodies before hanging himself with the pulley of a weight machine, authorities said Tuesday. :huh:

Investigators found prescription anabolic steroids in the house and want to know whether the muscle man nicknamed "The Canadian Crippler" was unhinged by the bodybuilding drugs, which can cause paranoia, depression and explosive outbursts known as "roid rage." :huh:

Authorities offered no motive for the killings, which were spread out over a weekend, and would not discuss Benoit's state of mind. No suicide note was found.

"I'm baffled about why anybody would kill a 7-year-old," District Attorney Scott Ballard said. "I don't think we'll ever be able wrap our head around that."

The Montreal-born Benoit was one of the stars of the WWE wrestling circuit and was known for his wholesome family man image. His wife, Nancy, was a wrestling stage manager who worked under the name "Woman." They met and fell in love when their wrestling story lines intertwined.

When he won the world heavyweight championship, Benoit (pronounced ben-WAH) hoisted the belt over his head and invited his wife and child into the ring to celebrate.

Nevertheless, Nancy Benoit filed for a divorce in 2003, saying the couple's three-year marriage was irrevocably broken and alleging "cruel treatment."

She later dropped the complaint, as well as a request for a restraining order in which she charged that the 5-foot-10, 220-pound Benoit had threatened her and had broken furniture in their home.

In the divorce filing, she said Benoit made more than $500,000 a year as a professional wrestler and asked for permanent custody of Daniel and child support. In his response, Benoit sought joint custody.

The bodies were found Monday afternoon in three rooms of the house, off a gravel road.

Benoit's wife, 43, was killed Friday in an upstairs family room, her feet and wrists were bound and there was blood under her head, indicating a possible struggle, Ballard said.

The son, Daniel, was probably killed late Saturday or early Sunday, the body found in his bed, Ballard said.

Benoit, 40, apparently killed himself several hours and as long as a day later, Ballard said. His body was found in a downstairs weight room, his body found hanging from the pulley of a piece of exercise equipment.

The prosecutor said he found it "bizarre" that the WWE wrestling star spread out the killings over a weekend and appeared to remain in the house for up to a day with the bodies.

Toxicology test results may not be available for weeks or even months, he said. As for whether steroids played a role in the crime, he said: "We don't know yet. That's one of the things we'll be looking at."

Neighbors said the Benoits led a low-key lifestyle.

"We would see Chris walking in his yard from time to time. He wasn't rude, but he wasn't really outwardly warm," said Alaina Jones, who lives across the street.

Jimmy Baswell, who was Benoit's driver for more than five years, placed a white wreath at the Benoits' gate. "They always seemed like they were the happiest people," he said.

World Wrestling Entertainment said on its Web site that it asked authorities to check on Benoit and his family after being alerted by friends who received "several curious text messages sent by Benoit early Sunday morning."

The WWE, based in Stamford, Conn., said authorities asked that it not release further information on the deaths.

"WWE extends its sincerest thoughts and prayers to the Benoit family's relatives and loved ones in this time of tragedy," the company said in a statement on its Web site.

"He was like a family member to me, and everyone in my family is taking it real hard," said fellow Canadian Bret Hart, a five-time champion with the World Wrestling Federation. The federation has since changed its name to World Wrestling Entertainment.

Benoit had maintained a home in Atlanta from the time he wrestled for the defunct World Championship Wrestling. The Fayette County Tax Assessors Office lists the value of the house, on more than 8.5 acres, at nearly $900,000.

The WWE canceled its live "Monday Night RAW" card in Corpus Christi, Texas, and USA Network aired a three-hour tribute to Benoit in place of the scheduled wrestling telecast.

Benoit had two other children from a prior relationship.

Apparently Beniot was to perform in the latest Pay-Per-View event, but cancelled due to "personal reasons", I guess killing your wife and kids is considered a "personal reason". What a sicko, who could strangle their own son? I'm married so I could easily see how he could strangle is wife, I kid, but your own child, he must have been really out of it.

I hope the families of all parties can have peace, what a shame.

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well he was having issues with his wife...ya he had to have lost it big time. i used to watch wrestling and hs a big small guy. i saw an article on fox news that says like 25 wrestlers have died before the age of 50 due to either drugs, steroids, or heart attacks.

and ya for them to happen on seperate days and to kill ur own son...man, just shocking.

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Read a report today that his sons throat was crushed. They speculate that he put him in a wrestling hold to kill him. It also said that his son was handicapped and he(Benoit) had a hard time dealing with that. Not that that is any reason to kill him. What a tragedy.

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police offer no motive

Oh really...hows about this:

Pro wrestler Benoit bought excessive amounts of injectable steroids, papers say

By HARRY R. WEBER, Associated Press Writer

July 2, 2007

ATLANTA (AP) -- The pro wrestler who strangled his wife and son and committed suicide last month bought injectable steroids excessively, according to court papers released Monday. His doctor was charged with improperly prescribing drugs to other patients.

Dr. Phil Astin prescribed a 10-month supply of anabolic steroids to Chris Benoit every three to four weeks between May 2006 and May 2007, a Drug Enforcement Administration agent said in an affidavit filed Friday and made public Monday.

During a probe of "RX Weight Loss," Benoit was identified as an excessive buyer of injectable steroids, the document states. Prosecutors would not say what "RX Weight Loss" is.

The affidavit also said Astin supplied various controlled substances, including injectable anabolic steroids, that were found in Benoit's home.

Astin has not been charged with supplying steroids to Benoit, though U.S. Attorney David E. Nahmias said more charges are possible.

The anabolic steroids found in Benoit's home led officials to wonder whether the drugs played a role in the killings that started the weekend of June 22. Some experts believe steroids can cause paranoia, depression and violent outbursts known as "roid rage." Toxicology tests on Benoit's body have not been completed.

A federal indictment issued Monday charges Astin with improperly dispensing painkillers and other drugs to two different patients.

Prosecutors allege in the seven-count indictment that Astin dispensed drugs including Percocet, Xanax, Lorcet and Vicoprofen between April 2004 and September 2005. The recipients were identified in the indictment by the initials O.G. and M.J.; Benoit's initials were not listed.

Astin pleaded not guilty and was being held in lieu of $125,000 bond. He will be under house arrest once he posts bond and must surrender his medical license, U.S. Magistrate Judge Linda Walker ordered.

Astin had written prescriptions for about 1 million doses of controlled substances over the past two years, including "significant quantities" of injectable testosterone cypionate, an anabolic steroid, according to the criminal complaint.

The complaint by Drug Enforcement Administration agent Anissa Jones said the amount of prescriptions was "excessive" for a medical office with a sole practitioner in a rural area like Carrollton, about 40 miles west of Atlanta.

Assistant U.S. Attorney John Horn said that when agents raided the doctor's office Wednesday, Astin was carrying Benoit's medical file.

Astin's attorney, Manny Arora, said the doctor had brought the file because he thought the authorities would want it.

Federal drug agents have taken over the probe into whether Astin improperly prescribed testosterone and other drugs to Benoit before the killings and suicide in the wrestler's suburban Atlanta home last month. State prosecutors and sheriff's officials are overseeing the death investigation.

Investigators have conducted two raids at Astin's west Georgia office since last week.

Astin prescribed testosterone for Benoit, a longtime friend, in the past but has not said what, if any, medications he prescribed when Benoit visited his office June 22, the day authorities believe Benoit killed his wife.

"We're still asking questions and searching for answers with regard to the death so we can tie up loose ends," said Scott Ballard, Fayette County district attorney.

Authorities have said Benoit strangled his wife and son, placing Bibles next to their bodies, before hanging himself with the cable of a weight machine in his home.

The boy had old needle marks in his arms, Ballard has said. He said he had been told the parents considered him undersized and had given him growth hormones.

Benoit's father, Michael, said Monday that "it's impossible to come up with a rational explanation for a very irrational act."

"Let the cards fall where they fall, we have no control over it at this point," he said.

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More news just in on this topic:

DEA: Benoit had surfaced in steroid probe

Associated Press

ATLANTA (AP) - Chris Benoit's mother said she wonders whether her son would still be alive if federal agents had been more aggressive when they discovered the professional wrestler was buying large quantities of steroids.

The Drug Enforcement Administration acknowledged this week that Benoit's name surfaced in an investigation before he killed his wife, son and himself. But Benoit wasn't charged, and his supply continued until at least May, a month before the murder-suicide, according to a review of records by The Associated Press. DEA spokesman Rusty Payne said "it's ridiculous for anyone to think we could have known that anything like that could have happened."

But Benoit's mother said she is also concerned by another disclosure that police were previously aware Benoit's doctor, Phil Astin, may have been improperly prescribing medications.

Asked if quicker action by authorities could have helped her son, Margaret Benoit said in a telephone interview from her home in Alberta, Canada, "We would certainly hope so. We just don't know. We're dealing with so many things. It's incredible."

The case highlights the DEA's focus on drug traffickers rather than individual users, even when those users are star athletes and celebrities. The targets of the BALCO investigation in San Francisco, for instance, weren't the baseball players and runners who allegedly bought steroids but the distribution network that sold them.

Building those types of cases can take years.

"We can arrest and prosecute users, but they are not the target or focus of most investigations," Payne said.

Astin was charged Monday, more than a week after the killings, with improperly prescribing medications to two patients, but not Benoit. More charges are possible later.

"You don't run out and arrest a doctor for making one prescription that is questionable," Payne said. "There's just not enough evidence to arrest or bring charges. We want to bring charges that are legitimate. Cases take time."

Authorities found anabolic steroids in Benoit's home in suburban Atlanta, leading officials to wonder whether the drugs played a role in the killings that started June 22. Benoit strangled his wife and son and placed Bibles next to their bodies before hanging himself on the cable of a weight-machine, authorities said.

Some experts believe steroids can cause paranoia, depression and violent outbursts known as "roid rage." Toxicology tests on Benoit's body are not yet complete.

Heavy, long-term steroid use can cause irritability, hyperactivity and aggressive and reckless behavior, Harvard researcher Harrison G. Pope said.

"Alternatively, if you take a high dose for a prolonged period and then stop it, there is a risk of getting profound depression during the withdrawal period," he said.

A DEA agent's affidavit said Astin prescribed a 10-month supply of anabolic steroids to Benoit every three to four weeks between May 2006 and May 2007. It says that during a probe called "RX Weight Loss," Benoit was identified as an excessive purchaser of injectable steroids.

The affidavit also says that "Astin has been the subject of concern for excessive and/or suspicious prescribing activity by the Carrollton, Ga. Police Department and local area pharmacies."

Authorities have not said what "RX Weight Loss" refers to. But Benoit's name was discovered among hundreds of customers during an investigation into illegal steroid sales, according to a law enforcement official who spoke on condition of anonymity because that investigation is ongoing.

As a customer, Benoit was not a target of that probe and there was nothing differentiating him from any of the other buyers whose names surfaced, the official said.

Astin has said he prescribed testosterone for Benoit, a longtime friend, in the past but has not said what, if any, medications he prescribed when Benoit visited his office June 22, the day authorities believe Benoit killed his wife.

A spokesman for the police department in Carrollton, in west Georgia, declined to comment on any information the agency may have developed on Astin before the killings, referring questions to U.S. Attorney David Nahmias' office, which declined to comment. A manager at a pharmacy that filled Benoit's prescriptions also declined to comment.

Payne said the DEA has long known the possible side effects of steroid abuse and that is why it focuses on taking illegal traffickers off the street.

"It's a message we have to keep pounding away at," he said.

The second-guessing aside, the wrestler's mother said there's not much that can be done now except mourn her son, daughter-in-law and grandson.

"It's so late now, too late," Margaret Benoit said. "You can't turn the clock back."

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Sounds like Mama Benoit should blame herself before she blames the DEA, maybe if she had raised him with a higher moral standard he wouldn't have turned out like that. Chris Beniot is the ONLY one to blame for this situation, he choose to take illegally prescribed steriod and other drugs and he ultimately decided to end his and his families lives with own hands. Yes, it's a sad situation but Mama Benoit shouldn't blame the police for her son's actions.

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