By Mike Mooneyham
July 3, 2007
Chris Benoit’s personal physician, who is facing federal charges for improperly doling out painkillers and other drugs to patients, prescribed a 10-month supply of anabolic steroids to the late pro wrestling star every three to four weeks during a period from May 2006 to May 2007, according to court papers.
Benoit was was identified as an excessive purchaser of injectable steroids, a controlled substance, in a DEA investigation of a company called RX Weight Loss, according to the affidavit made public Monday. The affidavit also identified Dr. Phil Astin, of Carrollton, Ga., as the supplier of various controlled substances, including injectable anabolic steroids that were found in Benoit’s home.
A seven-count indictment that was unveiled Monday said Astin dispensed drugs including Percocet, Xanax, Lorcet and Vicoprofen between April 2004 and September 2005. The indictment also said Astin, aided and abetted by others known and unknown to the grand jury, improperly dispensed a quantity of a controlled substance for other than a legitimate medical purpose and not in the normal course of professional practice.
Astin, acording to one federal agent at the press conference Monday, “allegedly prescribed these drugs like candy.”
Astin was released on $125,000 bond with surrender of his medical license papers.
Federal prosecutors are seeking the forfeiture of all property and proceeds Astin obtained through the illegal conduct if he’s convicted. 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. Steroids were found in Benoit’s home, though investigators haven’t determined if they played any role in the brutal killings of his wife, Nancy, and their 7-year-old son.
Authorities say Benoit, 40, strangled his wife, suffocated his son and placed a Bible next to their bodies before hanging himself with a weight-machine cable in the couple’s suburban Atlanta home in a bizarre killing spree that took place over three days. No motive was offered for the slayings, and the carnage has left friends, family and fans searching for answers.
“They can put all the experts on that they want to, but it’s impossible to come up with a rational explanation for a very irrational act,” Benoit’s father told the Associated Press.
“That’s my feeling. Let the cards fall where they fall, we have no control over it at this point. It’s just impossible to come up with a rational explanation for what happened.”
The state prosecutor in the Benoit investigation told the AP on Monday he has no plans to file criminal charges against anyone in the case.
“From our standpoint, I have no reason to believe there will be any criminal charges at the current time,” Fayette County (Ga.) District Attorney Scott Ballard said. “What the federal government is going to do, it will be up to them.”
– In related developments:
In a statement released Monday, WWE stood by its drug-testing policy, saying it is “one of the most aggressive of its kind compared to testing programs initiated by competitive sports organizations, and is unique for an entertainment company.” The company also said that it “will make any improvements necessary to maintain it as a state-of-the-art program to the utmost betterment of our performers, fans and business partners.”
“It was designed to send a very clear message that WWE finds the abuse of drugs and steroids to be unacceptable,” the statement concluded.
Benoit, the company announced earlier, had passed his last drug test in April. The organization’s “Wellness Program” was put in place after the death of star Eddie Guerrero two years ago. It wasn’t the first time WWE had launched a drug-testing program. After owner Vince McMahon’s indictment in the early 1990s on charges he supplied wrestlers with steroids (he later was acquitted) the company instituted a drug-testing program that was scrapped a few years later.
– Amid reports that Chris Benoit allegedly injected his son with hormones because of is son’s health condition, Ballard released a statement on Monday.
“There are additional reports that contradict the earlier information that suggested that Daniel Benoit may have suffered from Dwarf Syndrome or Fragile X Syndrome. Daniel’s family denies that he suffered from either condition,” he said. “As a result of the family’s concerns, the Fayette County Sheriff’s investigators and the District Attorney’s Office have inquired into this matter. A source having access to certain of Daniel’s medical reports reviewed those reports, and they do not mention any pre-existing mental or physical impairment. Reports from Daniel’s educators likewise contradict the claims that Daniel was physically undersized. The educators report that Daniel graduated kindergarten and was prepared to enter the first grade on par with the other students.”