Monday, July 28, 2008

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Chris Benoit Murders & News

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Scripted story lines don't reveal reasons for Benoit tragedy
, Ga. -- The house, by most appearances, is immaculate and perfect. The fireplace, the wooden deck, the private staircase climbing up to a little boy's room. The circle driveway and the red Hummer.
When fact blurred to fantasy, Nancy Benoit never told people this, that in high school, all she really wanted to be was a housewife. Now her house is where the story ends and the spectacle begins.
It takes a good navigational system to get to the Benoit home, past a gravel road, through a narrow two-lane spin with tall Georgia trees on both sides. Gawkers have inched by for days, peering through the metal gate for answers. A woman rolled in from North Carolina the other night, reeking of alcohol, firing a volley of "why's" as a neighbor went to get his mail. She allegedly pelted him with rocks and wound up in jail.

Elizabeth Merrill/ESPN.com
The Benoits' house in Fayetteville, Ga., where wrestling star Chris Benoit allegedly killed his wife, Nancy, and 7-year-old Daniel, then later hanged himself."It's certainly surreal," says Fayette County District Attorney Scott Ballard. "I've used the word bizarre. There are so many bizarre things about it."
The why might never be answered -- why Chris Benoit, wrestling superstar, alleged family man, apparently murdered his wife on a Friday, strangled his son on a Saturday then wrapped a cord from his weight machine around his neck and hanged himself on a Sunday.
Because they lived in a world of scripted story lines, flying clotheslines and outlandish ring names, it took nearly a day for some WWE fans to believe that Benoit and his family were actually dead. Some still can't swallow it.
But fiction, those close to the case will say, could not trump the reality on Green Meadow Lane.
Ballard sits in his office across town at 5:30 p.m., after office hours because the Benoit case has evolved into a round-the-clock, breaking-news buffet of Geraldo and Greta proportions. Before Monday, Ballard had no idea who Benoit was. Maybe, he says, nobody really did.
He's describing how rigormortis had set in by the time they found Nancy, whose skin was marbleized as she lay face-down on the floor. He's remembering his walk into Daniel's room -- the 7-year-old boy's body was gone, but posters of his dad still hung on the wall, and two toy wrestling belts sat on a shelf.
There was every indication, Ballard says, that Daniel Benoit adored his father.
"I pray for two things," Ballard says. "That he didn't know about his mother's death and he was asleep when he was strangled.
"I don't think anybody can give me a why for that little boy being strangled that would satisfy me. I will never understand that."
Jim Daus was headed out to dinner Monday night when a call pierced his steeply planted world.
Nancy was dead.
Before she was "Woman," before she graced the covers of wrestling magazines and was drooled over by teenage boys, Nancy Benoit was Nancy Daus, a Florida girl who dropped out of high school to marry her boyfriend Jim.
They were high school sweethearts, kids with no money and little to do, and on Sunday nights, Jim grabbed his girl and whisked her to Orlando to watch wrestling. It was new for Nancy, whose protective parents didn't let her go at first. But he had front-row seats, and the couple was lured by the drama, the machismo, the circus.
"How would I describe it? Male soap opera," Daus says. "You follow the story lines like you'd watch a soap opera on TV. It builds, and you have to wait 'til Monday to find out the next chapter."
He used to call it fate, being in the right place at the right time. One night a wrestler grabbed Jim's chair, heaved it into the crowd and a camera clicked away at Nancy's surprised expression. She was discovered that night, joined wrestler Kevin Sullivan's entourage, and her life as a valet/diva/manager put her in leather and chains and took her everywhere from Texas to Hawaii.
For a while, Daus was a happy part of the ride. They grew up fast and owned their first house as teenagers. Eventually, there was no room for him on the tour.
On New Year's Day -- Daus isn't sure what year -- he picked her up from the airport, heard all the places she was booked for and said they were drifting in different directions. He suggested a divorce. Within days, they were seeing the same lawyer.
"We cried a lot that day," he says. "It was very hard on me. That was the toughest year of my life, the year I got divorced."
He stopped watching wrestling. It was too painful. Nancy's career skyrocketed, and she married Sullivan, a booker/wrestler known for his satanic references in the ring. If the entourage ultimately pulled Nancy away from Jim, it almost seemed fitting that another wrestling saga eventually pried her away from Sullivan.

AP Photo/WWE, HO
Authorities are investigating whether steroids may have been a factor in the deaths of Chris Benoit, above, his wife and child.By the mid-1990s, Sullivan was on the outs with Nancy, and scripted an angle that had her canoodling with Benoit. Wrestling fans knew her as "Woman." Benoit called her Nancy. In a life-imitates-art moment, they fell in love.
Some people thought it was an odd combination -- Chris the quiet workmanlike wrestler, Nancy the headstrong, career-savvy manager. Some also wondered why she gave it all up, left the business to be a stay-at-home wife and mother.
She disappeared from the spotlight, showing up occasionally at her husband's side. In the flurry of video clips of the past week, she's seen hugging Chris while confetti rains down on another wrestling victory. He's shown kissing his little boy as the emotions seep from his sweaty, sculpted body.
How much did anyone know about what went on with the Benoits? She filed a divorce petition in 2003, and withdrew it a few months later. She also filed a temporary protection order from domestic abuse, and later dropped that, too.
Richard Decker, an attorney for Nancy's parents, Paul and Maureen Toffoloni, said the family had no reason to believe there was turmoil on those 8.6 acres in Fayetteville.
"None. Zero," Decker says. "They had a normal son-in-law relationship with Chris. They didn't treat him as a superstar, and he didn't want to be treated as a superstar. He took out the trash and they treated him as anyone would treat a son in law. [The couple] had a close and loving relationship as far as they knew."
The testimonials for Chris Benoit, pre- and post-death, are almost prerecorded from those close to him. Hard worker, they say. Loyal, polite and quiet. Passionate.

Elizabeth Merrill/ESPN.com
In the week since the apparent murder-suicide, fans have left flowers, notes, photos and action figurines on the wall outside the Benoits' home.Nearly everybody in the wrestling business has a story of how they saw Benoit within the past couple of weeks, and he seemed like the same man who crawled through the ropes and into fantasy more than two decades ago.
One close friend, who declined to be named, says he vacillates from wanting to block the whole thing out to gluing himself to the Internet in search of the latest developments. One morsel of information might crack this thing, and explain the invisible demons.
It's one thing to grieve the death of a good friend. But how do you mourn a monster?
"Do I still love this guy or do I walk away hating this guy who's so out there that he could actually kill his wife and son," the friend says. "It's hard to distinguish, and you can't meet them both halfway."
When wrestling fans wanted to be marveled by gimmicks, they followed any number of spandex-wearing musclemen. When they wanted a good show, they watched Benoit. He was old-school, he was intense, and his gimmick was that he really didn't have one.
"People looked forward to his matches," says Mike Mooneyham, co-author of "Sex, Lies, and Headlocks," a book about the WWE. "He was believable, realistic and probably one of the greatest workers over the last 10 or 15 years. If it was a bad show, Chris could save it in his match."
Reality has never been a staple of professional wrestling. Its stars are cut from granite; its canned drama could cause the most gullible to collectively roll their eyes. And then there's the schedule. In the old days, Russ Hart says, they'd bond on eight- or nine-hour bus trips together, riding from show to show, taking chairs to the head until the next stop.
The average professional wrestler today spends between 200 and 250 days of the year on the road. Some jokingly call "Marriott" their home address. Others become caught up in their make-believe lives in the ring. Flyin' Brian Pillman wrestled with a loose-cannon gimmick that eventually led to him being fired by the WCW. He crashed his Hummer into a tree, slipped into a coma, and became addicted to painkillers. He died in a Minnesota hotel room, at the age of 35, of an undetected heart ailment.
Benoit's secrets -- and not-so-little-secrets -- have unraveled in the week since his death. The office of his friend, Dr. Phil Astin, was raided last week. Authorities want to know what might have been in Benoit's system at the time of the apparent murder-suicide. Friends of Benoit's say it was obvious long before last weekend that the wrestler was using performance-enhancing drugs.
"I don't think anybody had any illusions about whether he was on steroids," Hart says. " … just by looking at his physique and the muscle mass he had."
And then there were the statements by a WWE attorney this week who said the Benoits had recently been arguing over the care of Daniel, who reportedly had Fragile X Syndrome. Many people close to Benoit, including his in-laws, said they were unaware of any mental ailment.
That was typical Chris -- keeping to himself, hiding.
"You've got to realize that athletes generally handle their problems physically, so we're probably not the best with relationships," says Bill Watts, a former wrestler and promoter. "But here's the problem with athletes: It's not the fear of hope or reward that guides you, it's the fear of loss. You're always trying to look for the edge, to do whatever you can to maintain it so you push all the parameters.
"You can't live this persona and turn it off when you go home and read the newspaper or watch the news. It becomes you."
By all accounts, Chris Benoit was just being Chris Benoit on the afternoon of June 22. He visited Astin's office, took the hour-plus ride to Carrollton, Ga., through at least two construction zones and handfuls of stops, and smiled for a fan in a picture that has been plastered all over the national media. He made plans to fly to a WWE event over the weekend.
And then Benoit bound his wife's wrists and feet and strangled her.
Interviews have given Ballard a better idea of who the Benoits were. But they haven't answered most of the questions.
"A lot of people who knew him are very complimentary of him," Ballard says.
He pauses.
"I wonder how well they knew him."
Dinah Lawrence is a blond-haired mother from Social Circle, Ga., who carries a metal casket on her keychain and a love of wrestling in her heart. She's made the hour-long trip here, to the Benoit house, with her 20-year-old son Chris.

Elizabeth Merrill/ESPN.com
Wrestling fans Dinah Lawrence and son Chris, 20, drove to pay their respects to the Benoits. They met Chris Benoit last year during an appearance at the Mall of Georgia in Buford. They met Benoit more than a year ago, at the Mall of Georgia, when their hero was on a publicity stop. Most wrestlers shake a few hands and go on their way, Lawrence says. Benoit was different. He spent 30 minutes with her, talking about everything from her studies to become a funeral director to the fact that her son shared his name.
It was one of Benoit's first public appearances since the death of his good friend Eddie Guerrero, who died in another Minnesota hotel room, at 38, of heart failure. Benoit told the complete strangers about his friend, and mugged for a picture. Lawrence brought a copy of the photo to the Benoit house on Thursday, along with a hand-written note that she placed near an action figure of Benoit.
"This is what I want to remember," Lawrence says as she stares at the picture. "The guy who was just … the guy next door."
When police discovered the bodies on Monday, it touched off tears, finger pointing and general confusion among wrestling fans. Monday night's WWE "Raw" broadcast was supposed to focus on the fictitious death of chairman Vince McMahon, whose limousine exploded in a television scene a few weeks ago. Could the grisly stories emanating from the Atlanta area be make-believe, too?
"I probably had 50 or 60 messages Monday," Mooneyham says, "and most of them weren't convinced.
"That line between fact and fiction is so blurred that fans don't even know."
The Benoit house is remote enough that cell phones spin from roaming to no service, but his fans keep coming. They leave potted plants, a smashed-up guitar, a baggie of uncooked macaroni. Near the gate is a note that says, "I love you."
Lawrence's note fills an entire page.
"I'm so sorry you felt this was [the] solution to your problems …" it says.
Every couple of minutes, a man is seen through one of the first-floor windows. It's an investigator trying to piece together last weekend.
"He was like your best friend," Lawrence says. "It's hard to equate what happened in there with what we saw."
The first three nights after Nancy Benoit's body was found, Jim Daus couldn't sleep.
He's been remarried for nearly 20 years now, and has a job in the real world marketing propane and natural-gas products. His work takes him on the road a lot. It almost seems strange -- years after Nancy was going places he couldn't, Jim's job takes him everywhere.
Nine years ago, scrambling to catch a flight in Chicago, he found a seat in the back of the plane, looked up and saw a familiar face. It was Nancy. They talked for three or four hours and reminisced. They had that kind of relationship, no bad blood, just laughs and memories and a little sadness. Jim has been to two wrestling matches since their divorce, and took his son there once. He hated it, and they've never gone back.
Now, wrestling is keeping him awake, bringing him more pain.
"For years, I told everybody [her discovery] was the right place at the right time," he says. "What happened to Nancy … it kind of feels like the wrong place at the wrong time.
"That's why I feel bad. I pushed her into this whole thing."
He wonders why she stayed and what happened in that big house on Green Meadow Lane. Maybe, he says, Nancy tried too hard to make it work. She was stubborn like that.
He knew at some point, she was happy. The last time they communicated was by e-mail seven years ago, when Daniel was born.
He congratulated her and remembered how they didn't want kids. But that was fantasy. This was reality.
"Congratulations on your son, too," she wrote back. "I guess some things change."
Elizabeth Merrill is a senior writer for ESPN.com. She can be reached at merrill2323@hotmail.com.
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pussinboots
Head-trauma researchers want to study Benoit's brainBy Peter Keating and Shaun AssaelESPN The MagazineUpdated: June 30, 2007, 9:57 AM ETCommentEmailPrintThe double-murder and suicide involving pro wrestler Chris Benoit, already marked by a series of bizarre developments, is taking another macabre turn. Researchers involved with the study of brain trauma in deceased NFL players are seeking permission to look at Benoit's brain to try to learn whether head trauma might have played a role in Benoit's condition. "We don't know, but we would like to find out," said Julian Bailes, chairman of neurosurgery at the University of West Virginia and medical director of the Center for the Study of Retired Athletes. "We could be talking about the effects of head trauma, or the effects of head trauma in conjunction with substance abuse, or something else. AP Photo/WWE, HOBrain-trauma researchers believe Chris Benoit might have suffered the kind of concussion-related dementia that marked some NFL players' declines."We have seen repeated concussions associated with changes in the brain. These are abnormal changes in former football players who behaved in extreme and destructive ways. We need to ask if this is part of the same syndrome." The researchers -- the same group who conducted postmortems on former NFL players Andre Waters and Justin Strzelczyk -- believe it is possible Benoit suffered the kind of concussion-related dementia that marked the other athletes' declines. A source told ESPN.com, however, that even if the researchers' request is granted, the brain might be too damaged to examine. By the time police found Benoit's body on Monday, it had been lying in the 93-degree heat for at least a day. According to a source familiar with the local coroner's exam, it was virtually "liquefied." Still, the researchers hope they can obtain enough tissue to determine whether repeated concussions damaged Benoit's brain and perhaps played a role in his behavior. Early reports in the Benoit case focused on the possibility that anabolic steroids, which were found in Benoit's home in Fayetteville, Ga., might have contributed to the tragedy by causing "roid rage" in the veteran wrestler known as "The Canadian Crippler." On Wednesday night, federal agents raided the office of Dr. Phil Astin, a Carrollton, Ga., physician who reportedly had prescribed testosterone for Benoit. Benoit committed suicide on Sunday, the day he was supposed to wrestle a pay-per-view event in Houston. He already had strangled his wife, Nancy, and son, Daniel, and placed Bibles next to each victim. Police were notified when Benoit sent a series of cryptic text messages telling co-workers about his location and where they could find his dogs. Despite speculation about his steroid use, Benoit was never one of the bulkiest wrestlers in the business. In fact, his gimmick was his workmanship. Benoit's signature move was an aerial leap off the top of the ring post, which sent him airborne toward his opponent, who invariably was lying on the mat. It was designed to look as if he were spearing his rival. But Benoit pulled up just before impact, absorbing most of the stress himself. That caused his neck to become so fragile that he underwent surgery in 2001 to fuse his vertebrae. It kept him out of wrestling for nearly a year. When he returned, he resumed the move and continued to take repeated shots to the head with chairs, said Mike Mooneyham, co-author of "Sex, Lies, and Headlocks," a book about the WWE. "His friends told him to lay off, but that wasn't Chris," Mooneyham says. Scientists are still trying to piece together the links between blows to the head, physical changes to the brain and cognitive impairment, which can lead to depression, memory loss and abnormal behavior. Doctors affiliated with the NFL have heatedly denied a connection between football-related concussions and full-blown chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the dementia seen in punch-drunk boxers. Bennet Omalu, a Pittsburgh pathologist, examined Waters' brain after the former NFL player committed suicide in November. Omalu found that Waters' brain looked as if it belonged to an 85-year-old man with signs of Alzheimer's disease. Omalu also found unusual tangles in the brain and concluded that multiple concussions had caused, or severely worsened, Waters' neurological problems. Last month, Omalu also examined Strzelczyk, who died in a massive car wreck in 2004, and found the same tangles he had seen in Waters. Now, Bailes, Omalu and Christopher Nowinski, a former professional wrestler who obtained permission to examine Waters' brain and who worked with Benoit, have formed the Sports Legacy Institute to formalize the postmortem study of athletes' brains. If samples from Benoit become available, the group will get a chance to see where one wrestler's brain fits into the overall spectrum of the long-term effects of concussions. "The first reports were that it was in no condition to be looked at," said a source familiar with the group's request, "but there's still a possibility a sample could be retrieved." Peter Keating and Shaun Assael are senior writers for ESPN The Magazine. Assael is also the co-author of "Sex, Lies, and Headlocks: The Real Story of Vince McMahon and World Wrestling Entertainment," which is available here.
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ATLANTA -- Pro wrestler Chris Benoit's father said Friday that he was eager to see whether chemical tests can help explain why Benoit killed his wife and son and committed suicide, acts that the wrestler's father said he had no clue were coming. Michael Benoit said by phone from his home in Alberta, Canada, that his family is shocked and in disbelief over the slayings. Brain StudyThe same group of researchers who studied the brains of deceased NFL players want to know if head trauma played a role in Chris Benoit's behavior, according to ESPN The Magazine's Peter Keating and Shaun Assael. Story "We have no understanding of why it happened," he said. "We need some time to gather our thoughts and wait and see. There's still more information that's going to come out from toxicology tests that will give us some understanding of why this happened." Steroids were found in Benoit's home, leading officials to wonder whether the drugs played a role in the killings, which took place last weekend. Some experts believe steroids cause paranoia, depression and violent outbursts known as "roid rage." The New York Daily News, citing anonymous sources, reported Sunday that GHB, known as the "date-rape drug", also was found in Benoit's home. "Benoit was a GHB user and he did it with [now-deceased wrestler] Chris Adams," a source told the newspaper. "The question is, does GHB use play into what happened [in Fayetteville]?" Chris Benoit strangled his wife Nancy and 7-year-old son Daniel, placing Bibles next to their bodies, before hanging himself on the cable of a weight-machine in his home, authorities said. No motive was offered for the killings. Michael Benoit, who lives near Edmonton in Ardrossan, said the test results, which could take several weeks to be completed, "could give us closure." He said his son had seemed fine when they spoke on Father's Day, and had even said he regretted having to work instead of spending the day with his family. "That really wouldn't give you an indication of someone who would do what he did a week later," the father said. Law enforcement officials also want to know what might have been in Benoit's system at the time of the apparent murder-suicide. On Thursday, federal drug agents said they had raided the west Georgia office of a doctor who prescribed testosterone to Benoit. The raid at Dr. Phil Astin's office in Carrollton began Wednesday night and concluded early Thursday, said agent Chuvalo Truesdell, a spokesman for the Drug Enforcement Administration. No arrests were made. Hours before the raid, Astin told The Associated Press he had treated Benoit for low testosterone levels, which he said likely originated from previous steroid use. But he would not say what, if any, medications he prescribed when Benoit visited his office Friday. Among other things, investigators were looking for Benoit's medical records to see whether he had been prescribed steroids and, if so, whether that prescription was appropriate, according to a law enforcement official speaking on condition of anonymity because records in the case remain sealed.Meanwhile, the parents of Nancy Benoit were contesting a widely-reported aspect of the case -- that Daniel Benoit had an inherted genetic developmental disability. On Friday, Nancy Benoit's parents said through their attorney that they were unaware that their grandson had a rare medical condition called Fragile X Syndrome, an inherited form of mental retardation often accompanied by autism.On Thursday, Jerry McDevitt, an attorney for Chris Benoit's employer, World Wrestling Entertainment, said Daniel Benoit had the condition, and added that Chris and Nancy Benoit had argued over whether he should stay home more to take care of their son. But Atlanta-based lawyer Richard Decker, who represents Paul and Maureen Toffoloni, told ESPN.com's Elizabeth Merrill that the grandparents babysat often for Daniel and noticed no medical issues. "To them, he's always been a normal, healthy, happy child with no signs of illness," Decker said. "And that's not from a distance. That's from day-to-day contact. "There has been a lot of speculation and rumor in the media that is doing nothing to advance the investigation and doing everything to cause the Toffolonis intense pain." The Toffolonis, Decker told Merrill, are "grieving and trying to keep a low profile." They have asked Decker to investigate a possible civil lawsuit, and he is waiting for the investigation to conclude. "We're trying to stay out of their way right now," Decker said. "In the meantime, Maureen and Paul and Sandra [Nancy's sister] have asked me to ask members of the media and public to remember that this is an investigation of the death of their daughter and only grandchild. And even though Chris and Nancy led public lives, the family, specifically Daniel, did not lead a public life." In a related development, an anonymous user with the same IP address as the person who edited Benoit's Wikipedia entry to report his wife's death -- hours before authorities discovered the bodies of the couple and their 7-year-old son -- confessed early Friday on an online discussion page attached to the Web site, saying the changes were based on rumors and speculation, not hard evidence. The authenticity of the posting could not immediately be confirmed, though Wikinews, an online news source connected to Wikipedia, said that the Internet protocol address of the individual is identical to that of the user who edited Benoit's profile early Monday morning. An IP address is a unique series of numbers carried by every machine connected to the Internet. "I just can't believe what I wrote was actually the case, I've remained stunned and saddened over it," the user wrote. Investigators are looking into who altered the entry early Monday to say that the wrestler had missed a match two days earlier because of his wife's death. A Wikipedia official, Cary Bass, said Thursday that the entry was made by someone using an Internet protocol address registered in Stamford, Conn., where the WWE is based. An IP address does not necessarily have to be broadcast from where it is registered. It is not known where the posting was sent from, Bass said. Benoit's page on Wikipedia, a reference site that allows users to add and edit information, was updated at 12:01 a.m. Monday, about 14 hours before authorities say the bodies were found. The posting, according to ABCNews.com, contained the following information: "Chris Benoit was replaced by Johnny Nitro for the ECW Championship match at Vengeance, as Benoit was not there due to personal issues, stemming from the death of his wife Nancy." McDevitt said that to his knowledge, no one at the WWE knew Nancy Benoit was dead before her body was found Monday afternoon. Text messages released by officials show that messages from Chris Benoit's cell phone were being sent to co-workers a few hours after the Wikipedia posting. WWE employees are given WWE e-mail addresses, McDevitt said, though he did not know whether Chris Benoit had one. On Thursday afternoon, the Wikipedia page about Benoit carried a note stating that editing by unregistered or newly registered users was disabled until July 8 because of vandalism. Information from The Associated Press, ABCNews.com and ESPN.com's Liz Merrill was used in this report.
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Attorney: Couple argued over care of mentally retarded 7-year-old sonESPN.com news servicesUpdated: June 28, 2007, 10:38 AM ETCommentEmailPrintATLANTA -- In the days before pro wrestler Chris Benoit killed his wife and child and hanged himself, the couple argued over whether he should stay home more to take care of their mentally retarded 7-year-old son, an attorney for the wrestling league said Wednesday.AP Photo/WWE, HOAuthorities are investigating whether steroids may have been a factor in the deaths of Chris Benoit, above, his wife and child."I think it's fair to say that the subject of caring for that child was part of what made their relationship complicated and difficult, and it's something they were both constantly struggling with," said Jerry McDevitt, an attorney for World Wrestling Entertainment. "We do know it was a source of stress and consternation."McDevitt said the wrestling organization learned from the couple's friends and relatives that the Benoits were struggling with where to send the boy to school since he had recently finished kindergarten.He also said Benoit's wife didn't want him to quit wrestling, but she "wanted him to be at home more to care for the kid. She'd say she can't take care of him by herself when he was on the road."The child suffered from a rare medical condition called Fragile X Syndrome, an inherited form of mental retardation often accompanied by autism, McDevitt said.Over the past weekend, authorities said, Benoit 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 home. No motive was offered for the killings, which were discovered Monday.Anabolic steroids were found in Benoit's home, leading officials to wonder whether the drugs played a role in the slayings. Some experts believe steroids cause paranoia, depression and violent outbursts known as "roid rage."Recent Pro Wrestler DeathsChris Benoit's death in a murder-suicide is the latest in a string of professional wrestlers who died relatively young. Here is a list of some prominent performers and how they died: Date Name Age Cause of Death 2005 Eddie Guerrero 38 Heart failure * 2003 Curt Hennig 44 Acute cocaine intoxication** 2002 David Smith 39 Heart attack*** 1999 Owen Hart 34 Accidental fall 1999 Rick Rude 40 Heart failure believed caused by overdose of GHB, steroids 1997 Brian Pillman 35 Heart attack**** * Guerrero had not used illicit drugs and alcohol in four years prior to his death, but his prior lifestyle was widely blamed as a contributing factor.** Hennig's father said a combination of steroids and painkillers contributed to his death.*** Smith's autopsy said steroid use may have played a role in his death. His brother-in-law Bruce Hart said Smith "paid the price" for using.**** Pillman, a former NFL player, had a prior history of abusing steroids and painkillers. The WWE, based in Stamford, Conn., issued a news release Tuesday saying steroids "were not and could not be related to the cause of death" and that the findings indicate "deliberation, not rage." It also added that Benoit tested negative April 10, the last time he was tested for drugs.Also Wednesday, Benoit's personal physician said the wrestler did not give any indication he was troubled when he met with the doctor hours before the start of the weekend.Benoit had been under the care of Dr. Phil Astin, a longtime friend, for treatment of low testosterone levels. Astin said the condition likely originated from previous steroid use.Astin prescribed testosterone for Benoit in the past but would not say what, if any, medications he prescribed the day of their meeting."He was in my office on Friday to stop by just to see my staff," Astin said. "He certainly didn't show any signs of any distress or rage or anything.""I'm still very surprised and shocked, especially with his child Daniel involved," Astin said. "He worshipped his child."District Attorney Scott Ballard said the autopsy indicated that there were no bruise marks on the child's neck, so authorities are now assuming he could have been killed using a choke hold. "It's a process of elimination," he said.The boy had old needle marks in his arms, Ballard said. He said he had been told the parents considered him undersized and had given him growth hormones."The boy was very small, even dwarfed," Ballard said.The Benoits' argument over their son was not the only friction in their marriage. Nancy Benoit had 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.Meanwhile, authorities in Georgia were investigating a link between Benoit and a Florida business that may have supplied him with steroids.Prosecutors in upstate New York who have been investigating the company's drug sales said Benoit received deliveries from Signature Pharmacy and MedXLife.com, which sold steroids, human growth hormone and testosterone on the Internet.Six people, including two of the pharmacy's owners, have pleaded guilty in the investigation, and 20 more have been arrested, including doctors and pharmacists."That's something that sounds like we ought to be investigating," Ballard told the AP on Wednesday.A lawyer for MedXLife co-owner Dr. Gary Brandwein scoffed at allegations that his client's company sold steroids to Benoit."I've only read that in the paper. I have no direct information about that whatsoever," Terence Kindlon said Wednesday, adding that prosecutors in Albany County, N.Y., were trying to "distract everyone's attention from the fact that their case is disintegrating."Brandwein, a 44-year-old osteopath from Boca Raton, Fla., has pleaded not guilty to six counts in New York state court related to the criminal sale of a controlled substance. He was accused of signing and sending prescriptions without ever seeing patients.Telephone messages left for attorneys for Brian Schafler and Greg Trotta -- two other co-owners of MedXLife -- were not immediately returned Wednesday. The two men have pleaded guilty to felony third-degree diversion of prescription medications and prescriptions, admitting they helped get drugs in 2006 for customers in upstate New York who had no medical need for them.McDevitt said the drugs found in Benoit's house were legitimately prescribed. "There's no question, none of these drugs are out there, none of these drugs came from Internet pharmacies," he said.In addition to causing paranoia and explosive outbursts, steroids can also contribute to deep depression, according to experts."Just as you have the extreme high of when you're on steroids, you can get the opposite," said Dr. Todd Schlifstein, a clinical assistant professor at the New York University School of Medicine. "You can have a dramatic difference in mood swings. You can feel there's no hope, there's no future."Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
Posted by pussinboots on Sunday, July 01, 2007 at 5:59 PM [Remove] [Reply to this]
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WWE says speculation linking Benoit killings, steroids 'sensationalistic'ESPN.com news servicesUpdated: June 27, 2007, 4:25 PM ETCommentEmailPrintThe WWE says reports speculating that steroids played a role in the apparent murder-suicide of professional wrestler Chris Benoit, whom police say killed his wife and son before taking his own life, are "sensationalistic" and are not supported by evidence in the case. AP Photo/WWE, HOAuthorities are investigating whether steroids may have been a factor in the deaths of Chris Benoit, above, his wife and child.But a link emerged connecting Benoit to a Florida company charged with selling performance-enhancing drugs, as the Albany County, N.Y., district attorney's office said Benoit had received deliveries from the pharmacy. And prosecutors, lacking a suicide note and lacking a motive, still want to know if side effects from performance-enhancing drugs could possibly explain what might have caused Benoit to kill two members of his family and take his own life.Toxicology test results may not be available to investigators for weeks. As for whether steroids played a role in the crime, Fayette County, Ga. District Attorney Scott Ballard said: "We don't know yet. That's one of the things we'll be looking at." The WWE, in a news release on its Web site, pointed out that according to police, the steroids found in Benoit's suburban Atlana home were from legal prescriptions; that in the absence of toxicology tests, there was no evidence that Benoit had steroids in his body; that Benoit tested negative for steroids in April; and that the physical evidence from the home and the time that passed between the two killings and Benoit's suicide suggest deliberate acts, rather than an act of rage. The WWE "strongly suggests that it is entirely wrong for speculators to suggest that steroids had anything to do with these senseless acts, especially when the authorities plainly stated that there is no evidence that Benoit had steroids in his body, pending the toxicological reports, and that they had no evidence at this time as to the motive for these acts," the Stamford, Conn.-based company said. Benoit strangled his wife Nancy, 43, suffocated his 7-year-old son Daniel and placed a Bible next to their bodies before hanging himself with a weight-machine pulley, authorities said Tuesday. Recent Pro Wrestler DeathsChris Benoit's death in a murder-suicide is the latest in a string of professional wrestlers who died relatively young. Here is a list of some prominent performers and how they died: Date Name Age Cause of Death 2005 Eddie Guerrero 38 Heart failure * 2003 Curt Hennig 44 Acute cocaine intoxication** 2002 David Smith 39 Heart attack*** 1999 Owen Hart 34 Accidental fall 1999 Rick Rude 40 Heart failure believed caused by overdose of GHB, steroids 1997 Brian Pillman 35 Heart attack**** * Guerrero had not used illicit drugs and alcohol in four years prior to his death, but his prior lifestyle was widely blamed as a contributing factor.** Hennig's father said a combination of steroids and painkillers contributed to his death.*** Smith's autopsy said steroid use may have played a role in his death. His brother-in-law Bruce Hart said Smith "paid the price" for using.**** Pillman, a former NFL player, had a prior history of abusing steroids and painkillers. Investigators said they found 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." Steroids have been linked to the deaths of several professional wrestlers in recent years. Benoit's personal physician said he saw him hours before he allegedly killed his wife and he showed no signs of distress or range. Dr. Phil Astin said Benoit was in his office on Friday -- just to stop by and to see his staff. Astin said he was Benoit's longtime friend and physician. He said he had prescribed testosterone to Benoit because he suffered from low amounts of the hormone. He said the condition likely originated from previous steroid use. He would not say what, if any, medications he prescribed the day of the meeting. Benoit received drug deliveries from a Florida business that sold steroids, human growth hormone and testosterone on the Internet, according to the Albany County, N.Y., District Attorney's Office, which is investigating the business, MedXLife.com. Six people, including two of the pharmacy's owners, have pleaded guilty in the investigation, and 20 more have been arrested, including doctors and pharmacists. On Saturday, Benoit called a co-worker to say he had missed a flight and would be late for a wrestling event in Texas, WWE said in a timeline posted Tuesday on its Web site. The co-worker said Benoit sounded tired and groggy and said "I love you," which the co-worker found "out of context," WWE said. When a co-worker who usually travels with Benoit called him later from the Houston airport, Benoit told the co-worker his wife, Nancy, was throwing up blood and that his son, Daniel, also was throwing up. Benoit said he thought it was food poisoning, according to WWE. After Benoit talked to a WWE Talent Relations representative, the representative suggested Benoit try to make it to a pay-per-view event in Houston since he would not be able to make it to the live event in Beaumont, Texas. But early Sunday, two co-workers received a series of text messages from the cell phones of Benoit and his wife. Most stated his home address in Fayetteville, about 20 miles south of Atlanta. One message from Benoit's phone said: "The dogs are in the enclosed pool area. Garage side door is open," according to WWE. The text messages led WWE to ask authorities to check on Benoit and his family. Ballard said the messages appeared to be an attempt by Benoit to get someone to the home to find the bodies after his suicide. "In a community like this it's bizarre to have a murder-suicide, especially involving the death of a 7-year-old," Ballard said. "I don't think we'll ever be able to wrap our minds around this." He said Benoit's 43-year-old wife was killed Friday in an upstairs family room, and her feet and wrists were bound and there was blood under her head, indicating a possible struggle. Daniel was probably killed late Saturday or early Sunday, and his body was found in his bed, the district attorney said. Benoit, 40, apparently hanged himself hours later, Ballard said. His body was found in a downstairs weight room hanging from the pulley of a piece of exercise equipment. The prosecutor said it appeared the wrestler remained in the house for up to a day with the bodies. The boy had old needle marks in his arms, Ballard said. He said he had been told the parents considered him undersized and had given him growth hormones. "The boy was very small, even dwarfed," Ballard said. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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Steroids discovered in probe of slayings, suicideESPN.com news servicesUpdated: June 27, 2007, 10:05 AM ETCommentEmailPrintFAYETTEVILLE, Ga. -- 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.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."AP Photo/WWE, HOAuthorities are investigating whether steroids may have been a factor in the deaths of Chris Benoit, above, his wife and child.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."In a community like this it's bizarre to have a murder-suicide, especially involving the death of a 7-year-old," District Attorney Scott Ballard said. "I don't think we'll ever be able to wrap our minds around this."In an interview with ESPN.com on Tuesday, Ballard indicated that the boy had needle marks in his arms. The district attorney said he believed that the boy had been given growth hormones for some time because the family considered him undersized.That was only one of the strange facts that Ballard revealed. He said that two text messages of note caused authorities to investigate the house. In one, Benoit told somebody he knew that his wife and son were sick."Of course, they were dead," Ballard told ESPN.com.In a second message to a neighbor, Benoit said that the door of the house was open and the pets were outside."And our assumption is that that was an effort to try and get somebody to come find the bodies after the suicide," Ballard said. "That is our assumption." Recent Pro Wrestler DeathsChris Benoit's death in a murder-suicide is the latest in a string of professional wrestlers who died relatively young. Here is a list of some prominent performers and how they died: Date Name Age Cause of Death 2005 Eddie Guerrero 38 Heart failure * 2003 Curt Hennig 44 Acute cocaine intoxication** 2002 David Smith 39 Heart attack*** 1999 Owen Hart 34 Accidental fall 1999 Rick Rude 40 Heart failure believed caused by overdose of GHB, steroids 1997 Brian Pillman 35 Heart attack**** * Guerrero had not used illicit drugs and alcohol in four years prior to his death, but his prior lifestyle was widely blamed as a contributing factor.** Hennig's father said a combination of steroids and painkillers contributed to his death.*** Smith's autopsy said steroid use may have played a role in his death. His brother-in-law Bruce Hart said Smith "paid the price" for using.**** Pillman, a former NFL player, had a prior history of abusing steroids and painkillers. The Montreal-born Benoit was one of the stars of the World Wrestling Entertainment 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 in 2004, Benoit (pronounced ben-WAH) hoisted the belt over his head and invited his wife and child into the ring to celebrate. Asked by the Calgary Sun that same year to name his worst vice: Benoit replied: "Quality time with my family is a big vice. It's something I'll fight for and crave."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.Ballard said that 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 told ESPN.com that it appeared that she had been pinned to the floor and asphyxiated with some sort of cable. The son, Daniel, was probably killed late Saturday or early Sunday, the body found in his bed, Ballard said. The district attorney indicated that he had been choked to death.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. Ballard said that he had used weights, the pulley and cable to choke himself to death.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. Ballard told ESPN.com that investigators smelled what they ascertained to be decomposing bodies when they entered the home. The varying degrees of decomposition between the bodies helped indicate the staggered times of death.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."Benoit received drug deliveries from a Florida business that sold steroids, human growth hormone and testosterone on the Internet, according to the Albany County, N.Y., District Attorney's Office, which is investigating the business, MedXLife.com.Six people, including two of the pharmacy's owners, have pleaded guilty in the Albany investigation, and 20 more have been arrested, including doctors and pharmacists.Steroids have been linked to the deaths of several professional wrestlers in recent years. Eddie Guerrero, one of Benoit's best friends, died in 2005 from heart failure linked to long-term steroid use.The father of Curt "Mr. Perfect" Hennig blamed steroids and painkillers for Hennig's drug overdose death in 2003. Davey Boy Smith, the "British Bulldog," died in 2002 from heart failure that a coroner said was probably caused by steroids.The WWE, based in Stamford, Conn., issued a statement Tuesday evening saying steroids "were not and could not be related to the cause of death.""The physical findings announced by authorities indicate deliberation, not rage," the company said, adding that Benoit tested negative April 10, the last time he was tested for drugs.Benoit was a quiet, roughhewn figure amid the glitz and bluster of pro wrestling. He performed under his real name, eschewed scripted personas and didn't bother to fix a gap where he had lost one of his front teeth. (According to the WWE Web site, he lost the tooth while roughhousing with his pet Rottweiler.)His signature move was the "Crippler Crossface," in which he would lock his hands around an opponent's face and stretch his neck."You always rooted for him, because he was a good guy and he overcame the odds," said Dave Meltzer, editor of the Wrestling Observer, a weekly news letter. "It's like if you watched 'Rocky,' and in the end it comes out that Rocky killed his wife and his son."He met his wife in the 1990s when she was married to rival wrestler Kevin Sullivan. As part of the scripted rivalry, Benoit and Nancy were supposed to act as if they were having an affair. A real romance blossomed, and she left Sullivan for Benoit.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.WWE 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."On Saturday, Benoit was slated to appear at a WWE live event in Beaumont, Texas. According to a release from the WWE, Benoit contacted WWE that afternoon to inform them that his wife and child were ill, and that he would not be able to attend the show. The release also stated that WWE executives rebooked Benoit's flight for the following morning, making arrangements for Benoit to attend the pay-per-view event in Houston on Sunday. Employees attempted to confirm his travel plans but were unable to contact him. 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, after the bodies were discovered.Monday's show was supposed to be a memorial service for WWE owner Vince McMahon. In a storyline concocted by the WWE, McMahon was supposedly "assassinated" in a limousine explosion two weeks earlier. McMahon appeared at the beginning of Monday's telecast and acknowledged the bombing was made up.The McMahon storyline has been dropped.Benoit had two other children from a prior relationship.Mike Fish of ESPN.com contributed to this report. Information from The Associated Press was also used.
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Police say they will investigate Benoit deaths as possible murder-suicideESPN.com news servicesUpdated: June 26, 2007, 12:42 PM ETCommentEmailPrintFAYETTEVILLE, Ga. -- WWE wrestler Chris Benoit, his wife and son were found dead Monday, and police said they were investigating the deaths as a murder-suicide.AP Photo/WWE, HOAuthorities are investigating whether steroids may have been a factor in the deaths of Chris Benoit, above, his wife and child.Lt. Tommy Pope of the Fayette County Sheriff's Department said the three were found at their home about 2:30 p.m.Pope said autopsies on Benoit, his wife Nancy, and 7-year-old son Daniel were scheduled for Tuesday. It could be weeks before there is a result.Benoit had missed several appointments over the weekend, leading some concerned parties to ask police to do a "welfare check," Pope told ABC News. The WWE reported on its Web site on Monday night that friends received several curious text messages sent by Benoit early Sunday morning, prompting VP of Government Relations for WWE, Inc. Richard Hering to contact Fayette County sheriffs on Monday and request they check on Benoit and his family. When sheriffs arrived at the home, they found the wrestler, his wife and their son dead. Detective Bo Turner told television station WAGA that the case was being treated as a murder-suicide, but he said that couldn't be confirmed until evidence was examined by a crime lab.The station said that investigators believe the 40-year-old Benoit killed Nancy, 43, and Daniel over the weekend, then himself on Monday. The bodies were found in three rooms.According to Pope, there were no signs of gunshot wounds or stabbing. Authorities are not ruling out other causes, such as poisoning, suffocation or strangulation."The details, when they come out are going to prove a little bizarre," said Fayette County District Attorney Scott Ballard, according to The Atlanta-Journal Constitution.Pope told ABC News "the instruments of death were located on scene," but would not specify what those instruments are or where in the house the bodies were found. Pope added the department is "not actively searching for any suspects outside of the house."Authorities also declined to say whether drugs or steroids were found inside the house. "We're not releasing any information as far as what was located inside the house," sheriff's Sgt. Keith Whiteside said Tuesday.Asked about the condition of the interior of the house, Whiteside said investigators found "nothing really out of the ordinary." He said Benoit was found in the home's weight room, his wife in an office and the son in an upstairs bedroom.Whiteside said toxicology tests could take up to a week or longer to complete.Neighbors said the Benoits led a low-key lifestyle."They were nice," said Lorre Jones, who lives across the street. Her daughter Alaina said: "We would see Chris walking in his yard from time to time. He wasn't rude, but he wasn't really outwardly warm."Jimmy Baswell, who was Benoit's driver for more than five years, placed a white wreath at the Benoits' gate Tuesday."I saw him with his family all the time," said Baswell. "They always seemed like they were the happiest people."The house is in a secluded neighborhood set back about 60 yards off a gravel road, surrounded by stacked stone wall and a double-iron gate. On Monday night, the house was dark except for a few outside lights. There was a police car in front, along with two uniformed officers.Benoit was a former world heavyweight champion, Intercontinental champion and held several tag-team titles over his career."WWE extends its sincerest thoughts and prayers to the Benoit family's relatives and loved ones in this time of tragedy," the federation said in a statement on its Web site.Benoit was scheduled to perform at the "Vengeance" pay-per-view event Sunday night in Houston, but was replaced at the last minute because of what announcer Jim Ross called "personal reasons."Benoit had maintained a home in metro Atlanta from the time he wrestled for the defunct World Championship Wrestling. The Fayette County Tax Assessors Office lists the value of the house, situated 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."My relationship with Chris has extended many years and I consider him a great friend," Carl DeMarco, the president of WWE Canada, said in a statement. "Chris was always first-class -- warm, friendly, caring and professional -- one of the best in our business."Benoit's wife managed several wrestlers and went by the stage name "Woman."They met when her then-husband drew up a script that had them involved in a relationship as part of an ongoing story line on World Championship Wrestling, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.Benoit became a standout at an early age among wrestling prospects who trained in the dungeon basement of the house where fellow Canadians and professional wrestlers Owen and Bret Hart trained. Owen Hart was killed during a wrestling event in 1999."He was like a family member to me, and everyone in my family is taking it real hard," said Bret Hart, a five-time WWE champion.Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.632 comments on "Police say they will investigate Benoit deaths as possible murder-suicide"RockBeast666 (6/26/2007 at 12:26 AM)In a business were most of the players are viewed as bad actors rather than men with real athletic ability, Chris Benoit far surpassed the rest. Unlike allot guys in any pro sport, Benoit did it for the fans and the sport itself, not the money. He was truly one of the most hard working, most dedicated men that any sport has ever known and it's truly tragic that his life and career ended in such a horrible way. Once I got old enough to lose my interest in pro wrestling, I still never lost my respect for what an incredible athlete and hard worker Chris Benoit was. My deepest sympathys go out to he and his wife and child's family and friends. mmayes211 (6/26/2007 at 12:27 AM)Is it not weird the fact all these public wrestling figures have died and no one is talking to Vince?? Think of your job, collegiate sports, a circus, etc. If that many people had mysteriously died in the past 10-15 years, wouldn't authorities be a BIT interested in talking to you or the boss. Food for thought.Traditionrichjayhawk (6/26/2007 at 12:31 AM)Well guys we don't know all the facts we are just assuming but this is really terrible. When I watching wrestling, this guy as more intense, and tougher than anybody I've ever seen. Chris Beniot just HAD IT! He had that confidence, that swagger, etc. His rivalries with Chris Jericho, Kurt Angle, and The Rock produced some of the most classic matches in the history of the WWE. May you rest in peace Daniel, Nancy, and Chris Beniot!ESPN Top HeadlinesBye, Buffalo: Flyers land big free agent Briere Report: Carter agrees to 4-year contract with Nets Reds fall to Cardinals despite Griffey's 585th HR Nextel Cup racing in New Hampshire Kerr takes 1-shot lead; Ochoa falters in U.S. Open Inside ESPN.comFree agency is here, and soon the millions will fly. Who deserves the biggest bump? We rank the top 25 available play- ers. Insider: Chris Sheridan When the clock struck midnight, the Bucks weren't racing to find a slipper for Chauncey. So what's the early word in free agency? Marc Stein The fantasy world of wrestling seemingly gave Nancy Benoit a dream life, but it ended tragically. Did anyone know Chris Benoit? Liz Merrill Usama Young, the 66th pick in the NFL draft, is the highest pick to sign with his team. But compared to last year, the ink is flying. Len PasquarelliWe know Roger Federer is the big favorite at Wimbledon. But weather woes and a Sunday off have combined to make his job much easier. Todd MartinNot long ago, talk in tennis circles had the doubles game on a path to extinction. But it's blazing along; just ask the Williams sisters. Greg Garber
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Sunday, July 01, 2007 Steroids In Wrestling Commentary Pro wrestling has more problems than steroidsBy Jemele HillPage 2(Archive Contact).. promo plug --> .. end promo plug --> .. end story header -->.. begin left column --> .. begin page tools --> Updated: June 28, 2007, 1:18 PM ETComment Email Print .. end page tools -->.. begin story body --> .. template inline --> You could say what's happened in pro wrestling recently is very Tupac-esque. Tupac foreshadowed his own death in his 1996 video for "I Ain't Mad At Cha," which was released a few days after he was shot and killed in Las Vegas. Peter Cramer/GettyHopefully the Chris Benoit tragedy will open some eyes in the world of professional wrestling.The WWE was in the middle of an elaborate, fake-death story line involving chairman Vince McMahon -- going as far as to put out a press release about it and declare a day of mourning -- when life decided it could trump art. The WWE got its wish, all right. The pro wrestling world was indeed leveled by a major death, creating the nationwide buzz it so desperately sought. Only this death wasn't staged, it wasn't McMahon's and it pointed to a much more significant problem in the "sport." The bodies of legendary wrestler Chris Benoit, wife Nancy and 7-year-old son Daniel were discovered Monday after a gruesome murder-suicide. Initially, all three were thought to be victims -- the WWE and USA Network even aired a three-hour tribute to the 22-year wrestling vet -- but it soon became apparent the deaths were executed by Benoit, who strangled his wife and suffocated his child before hanging himself on the portable weight machine in the family's home. I realize we're supposed to look at pro wrestling as a high-flying version of "The Young and the Restless." But it is inconceivable that, given the appalling number of real wrestling deaths, there would ever be any plot lines involving fake deaths. The real lives of pro wrestlers, as the Benoit tragedy illustrates, are far more disturbing than anything they could act out in the ring. Two years ago, Eddie Guerrero was found dead in his Minneapolis hotel room -- medical examiners ruled Guerrero had an enlarged heart, a result of the anabolic steroids he had abused. In 2003, Miss Elizabeth -- the girlfriend of former WCW champion Lex Luger and a one-time fixture in the sport -- overdosed on a combination of pain pills and alcohol. That same year, Curt "Mr. Perfect" Henning died of a cocaine overdose. And in 1999, Owen Hart died while trying to perform a stunt during a pay-per-view event -- the show went on, and because pro wrestling is always full of theatrics, the viewing audience had no idea the mishap it had just witnessed resulted in a real death. "Personally, I thought the [McMahon] story line was in extremely poor taste from the start," said Phil Lowe, editor of WrestleMag.com, the largest wrestling Web site in the United Kingdom. "I'd like to think a story line such as this should never even be considered again and that the company now focuses on wrestling over far-fetched story lines, as well as paying more attention to the well-being of those who play a massive role in ensuring that the company is such a massive success." Although pro wrestling makes no illusions about its purpose, the countless deaths suggest it's time to scrutinize what goes on there with the same seriousness as in the NBA or NFL. Pro wrestling is still sports entertainment, which doesn't make it all that different from the sports leagues that don't have predetermined outcomes. It took Jose Canseco's book, "Juiced," and the BALCO scandal to get Congress to question officials from the NBA, NFL and Major League Baseball. How many more pro wrestlers have to die before Congress gives McMahon, who was charged with conspiring to distribute steroids to his wrestlers, a phone call? "Depending on what comes out from [Benoit's] toxicology reports, we could see changes implemented or at least changes called for," Lowe said. Although steroids are poised to be the banner issue that emerges from the Benoit tragedy, the changes that need to be implemented should go further than just drug testing, which WWE already has. As we've seen with the retired NFL players who have taken their plight to the government, the mental strain that comes from competing in brutal sports -- and despite its being programmed, you could argue pro wrestling is as physically taxing as professional football -- can be debilitating, whether steroids are involved or not. Many pro wrestlers, as shown in the stunning 1999 documentary "Beyond the Mat," lead lives that are demoralizing, not glamorous. In that documentary, we learn that Jake "The Snake" Roberts -- whose signature "DDT" move I tried many times as a kid -- is just a lonely cocaine addict estranged from his family. Based on the things in "Beyond the Mat," we should almost be surprised when a pro wrestler doesn't die tragically. "Ultimately, every guy is responsible for his or her own actions," Lowe said. "That said, some of these guys -- especially those at the top of the tree -- are under huge pressure to keep in shape and maintain their physical condition while burning themselves out on the road 200-plus days a year." It seems the drama in pro wrestling isn't as fake as we'd like to believe. Page 2 columnist Jemele Hill can be reached at jemeleespn@gmail.com. .. end story body -->.. begin sp links -->
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Friday, June 29, 2007 Benoits' Family Funerals Benoit to have service in Canada, wife and child in FloridaBy Kevin DuffyThe Atlanta Journal-ConstitutionPublished on: 06/28/07Professional wrestler Chris Benoit will have a private service in Canada, separate from the services for his wife and son, his father said Thursday.Benoit's parents, Michael and Margaret Benoit, live in Ardrossan in the Canadian province of Alberta.The bodies of Benoit, his wife Nancy Benoit and their 7-year-old son, Daniel, are at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab.Benoit killed his wife and his mentally handicapped son last weekend and then hanged himself at their exclusive Fayette County home near Peachtree City."It's a horrible, horrible event that's happened," Michael Benoit, the wrestling star's father said, speaking softly on the phone. "We have no understanding why it happened. It's going to take us a long time to come to terms with this, and we may never come to terms with it."Nancy Benoit's parents, Paul and Maureen Toffoloni, live in Daytona Beach, Fla., where services for Nancy Benoit and Daniel probably will be held, Benoit said. They could not be reached Thursday for comment.The plan is to cremate the mother and child in Georgia, according to Bee Huddleston of Carl J. Mowell and Sons Funeral Home in Peachtree City, which is assisting the families.Mowell and Sons was scheduled to pick up the bodies of the mother and son late Thursday from the G.B.I. medical examiner's office in Decatur."Our thoughts and prayers are with Nancy's family," Benoit said. "We're very concerned about the long-term affects on her family."There are no words to describe the loss we feel."
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Wrestler and Wife Argued Over Child CarePro Wrestler Chris Benoit and Wife Argued Over Care of Mentally Retarded 7-Year-Old Son..IE--> In this March 29, 2004 file photo, provided by World Wrestling Entertainment Chris Benoit is shown. Pro wrestler Chris Benoit, his wife and 7-year-old son were found slain Monday, June 25, 2007 at their Fayette County home, authorities said. Sheriff's Lt. Tommy Pope said the three were found about 2:30 p.m., but he would release no other details about the deaths at the house near White Water Country Club. (AP Photo/WWE, HO) The Associated Press By GREG BLUESTEIN Associated Press WriterATLANTA Jun 28, 2007 (AP) Font SizeE-mailPrint.. AddThis Bookmark Button BEGIN --> Share .. type=text/javascript>var addthis_pub = 'abcnews';..> .. src="http://s9.addthis.com/js/widget.php?v=10" type=text/javascript>..> In the days before pro wrestler Chris Benoit killed his wife and child and hanged himself, the couple argued over whether he should stay home more to take care of their mentally retarded 7-year-old son, an attorney for the wrestling league said Wednesday. "I think it's fair to say that the subject of caring for that child was part of what made their relationship complicated and difficult, and it's something they were both constantly struggling with," said Jerry McDevitt, an attorney for World Wrestling Entertainment. "We do know it was a source of stress and consternation.".. -related- --> ..empty-->McDevitt said the wrestling organization learned from the couple's friends and relatives that the Benoits were struggling with where to send the boy to school since he had recently finished kindergarten.He also said Benoit's wife didn't want him to quit wrestling, but she "wanted him to be at home more to care for the kid. She'd say she can't take care of him by herself when he was on the road."The child suffered from a rare medical condition called Fragile X Syndrome, an inherited form of mental retardation often accompanied by autism, McDevitt said.Over the past weekend, authorities said, Benoit 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 home. No motive was offered for the killings, which were discovered Monday.Anabolic steroids were found in Benoit's home, leading officials to wonder whether the drugs played a role in the slayings. Some experts believe steroids cause paranoia, depression and violent outbursts known as "roid rage."The WWE, based in Stamford, Conn., issued a news release Tuesday saying steroids "were not and could not be related to the cause of death" and that the findings indicate "deliberation, not rage." It also added that Benoit tested negative April 10, the last time he was tested for drugs.Also Wednesday, Benoit's personal physician said the wrestler did not give any indication he was troubled when he met with the doctor hours before the start of the weekend.Wrestler and Wife Argued Over Child Care 123Next Comment on This Story Wrestler and Wife Argued Over Child CarePro Wrestler Chris Benoit and Wife Argued Over Care of Mentally Retarded 7-Year-Old SonFont SizeE-mailPrint.. AddThis Bookmark Button BEGIN --> Share .. type=text/javascript>var addthis_pub = 'abcnews';..> .. src="http://s9.addthis.com/js/widget.php?v=10" type=text/javascript>..> Benoit had been under the care of Dr. Phil Astin, a longtime friend, for treatment of low testosterone levels. Astin said the condition likely originated from previous steroid use... -related- --> ..empty-->Astin prescribed testosterone for Benoit in the past but would not say what, if any, medications he prescribed the day of their meeting."He was in my office on Friday to stop by just to see my staff," Astin said. "He certainly didn't show any signs of any distress or rage or anything.""I'm still very surprised and shocked, especially with his child Daniel involved," Astin said. "He worshipped his child."District Attorney Scott Ballard said the autopsy indicated that there were no bruise marks on the child's neck, so authorities are now assuming he could have been killed using a choke hold. "It's a process of elimination," he said.The Benoits' argument over their son was not the only friction in their marriage. Nancy Benoit had 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.Meanwhile, authorities in Georgia were investigating a link between Benoit and a Florida business that may have supplied him with steroids.Prosecutors in upstate New York who have been investigating the company's drug sales said Benoit received deliveries from Signature Pharmacy and MedXLife.com, which sold steroids, human growth hormone and testosterone on the Internet.Six people, including two of the pharmacy's owners, have pleaded guilty in the investigation, and 20 more have been arrested, including doctors and pharmacists."That's something that sounds like we ought to be investigating," Ballard told the AP on Wednesday.A lawyer for MedXLife co-owner Dr. Gary Brandwein scoffed at allegations that his client's company sold steroids to Benoit."I've only read that in the paper. I have no direct information about that whatsoever," Terence Kindlon said Wednesday, adding that prosecutors in Albany County, N.Y., were trying to "distract everyone's attention from the fact that their case is disintegrating."Wrestler and Wife Argued Over Child Care - Continued Previous123Next Comment on This Story .. type=text/javascript>adsonar_placementId=1280487;adsonar_pid=43749;adsonar_ps=-1;adsonar_zw=398;adsonar_zh=250;adsonar_jv='ads.adsonar.com';..> .. language=JavaScript src="http://js.adsonar.com/js/adsonar.js">..> Wrestler and Wife Argued Over Child CarePro Wrestler Chris Benoit and Wife Argued Over Care of Mentally Retarded 7-Year-Old SonFont SizeE-mailPrint.. AddThis Bookmark Button BEGIN --> Share .. type=text/javascript>var addthis_pub = 'abcnews';..> .. src="http://s9.addthis.com/js/widget.php?v=10" type=text/javascript>..> Brandwein, a 44-year-old osteopath from Boca Raton, Fla., has pleaded not guilty to six counts in New York state court related to the criminal sale of a controlled substance. He was accused of signing and sending prescriptions without ever seeing patients... -related- --> ..empty-->Telephone messages left for attorneys for Brian Schafler and Greg Trotta two other co-owners of MedXLife were not immediately returned Wednesday. The two men have pleaded guilty to felony third-degree diversion of prescription medications and prescriptions, admitting they helped get drugs in 2006 for customers in upstate New York who had no medical need for them.McDevitt said the drugs found in Benoit's house were legitimately prescribed. "There's no question, none of these drugs are out there, none of these drugs came from Internet pharmacies," he said.In addition to causing paranoia and explosive outbursts, steroids can also contribute to deep depression, according to experts."Just as you have the extreme high of when you're on steroids, you can get the opposite," said Dr. Todd Schlifstein, a clinical assistant professor at the New York University School of Medicine. "You can have a dramatic difference in mood swings. You can feel there's no hope, there's no future."Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.Wrestler and Wife Argued Over Child Care - Continued Previous123 Comment on This Story 5:52 AM - 0 Comments - 0 Kudos - Add Comment - Edit - RemovePosted by pussinboots on Sunday, July 01, 2007 at 5:49 PM [Remove] [Reply to this]
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Friday, June 29, 2007 CHRIS BENOIT foxnews.com http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,287194,00.htmlWeb Time Stamps Indicate Nancy Benoit's Death Reported on Web at Least 13 Hours Before Police Found Bodies in Her HomeThursday, June 28, 2007By Blane BachelorE-MAIL STORY PRINTER FRIENDLY VERSION An anonymous user operating a computer traced to Stamford, Conn. — home to World Wrestling Entertainment — posted an entry to pro wrestler Chris Benoit's biography on Wikipedia.org announcing the death of his wife Nancy at least 13 hours before police in suburban Atlanta said they found her body along with her husband's and that of their 7-year-old son, FOXNews.com has learned.Reporters informed the Fayette County district attorney's office of the posting Thursday, and the agency forwarded the information to sheriff's investigators, who are looking into it, a legal assistant said in an e-mail to the AP.WWE attorney Jerry McDevitt said that to his knowledge, no one at the WWE knew Nancy Benoit was dead before her body was found Monday afternoon. Text messages released by officials show that messages from Chris Benoit's cell phone were being sent to co-workers a few hours after the Wikipedia posting.WWE employees are given WWE e-mail addresses, McDevitt said, though he did not know whether Chris Benoit had one."I have no idea who posted this," McDevitt said. "It's at least possible Chris may have sent some other text message to someone that we're unaware of. We don't know if he did. The phone is in the possession of authorities."Employees at Wikipedia.org said the posting went live on their site on Monday at 12:01 a.m. Eastern Standard Time. Police, however, said they found the bodies Monday at 2:30 p.m. EDT.StoriesDrug Agents Raid Offices of Pro Wrestler Chris Benoit's Personal Physician WWE's McMahon: Don't Assume That 'Roid Rage' Caused Benoit Murder-Suicide FOX Facts: Famous Wrestling Deaths Wrestler Chris Benoit Double Murder-Suicide: Was It 'Roid Rage'? Pro Wrestler Chris Benoit Told Friends Family Was Ill Nancy Benoit: A Career Woman in Wrestling Chris Benoit: Professional Wrestler, Murderer, Suicide Officials: Wrestler Strangled Wife, Suffocated Son, Hanged Self Cops Suspect Murder-Suicide in Killings of Pro Wrestler Chris Benoit and His Family Photo EssaysNancy-Daus Benoit Chris Benoit Dead at 40 The posting reads: "Chris Benoit was replaced by [Johnny Nitro] for the ECW Championship match at Vengeance, as Benoit was not there due to personal issues, stemming from the death of his wife Nancy." According to a Wikipedia.org report published after FOXNews.com made inquiries, the edit was reversed just under one hour later with the comment:"Need a reliable source. Saying that his wife died is a pretty big statement, you need to back it up with something."The posting apparently was made in reference to Benoit's scheduled appearance on Sunday night at an Extreme Championship Wrestling event in Texas.An employee from Wikipedia.org told FOXNews.com that he called and left a message with investigative authorities in Fayetteville, Ga., at around 11 a.m. EDT on Tuesday, after the posting was brought to the attention of the St. Petersburg, Fla.-based Web site."I chat with other editors on IRC — Internet relay chat — and somebody pointed it out to me on a relay chat and that it came from a Stamford connection, and that it took place at midnight Eastern Standard Time on Monday morning," said Wikipedia.org volunteer coordinator Cary Bass. "I called and left a message with the police department."The computer-generated time and date stamp of the Benoit entry are listed as 4:01, 25 June 2007. Wikipedia.org lists its entries according to Universal Time, also known as Greenwich Mean Time.Further investigation, according to Wikipedia.com, shows that one hour after the first edit reversion, another anonymous edit by 125.63.148.173 using unwiredAustralia.com.au, a wireless Internet service provider, was made adding about the aforementioned personal issues: "which according to several pro wrestling websites is attributed to the passing of Benoit's wife, Nancy."That edit was reverted less than 20 minutes later, with the following comment: "Saying 'several pro wrestling websites' is still not reliable information." The second edit was made by a computer in Australia from a wireless network, according to Wikipedia.org.A message left by FOXNews.com with Lt. Tommy Pope of the Fayette County Sheriff's Department was not immediately returned.Investigators so far have ruled the Benoit killings as a double homicide-suicide.Wikipedia.org claims to be one of the largest reference Web sites, and is written collaboratively by users from around the world. Approved users can make submissions and change entries that are posted on the site almost immediately. Bass said the site is constantly monitored to correct inaccuracies.Bass said when there is a high-profile case, such as the Benoit killlings, Wikipedia.org limits postings to registered users, which is now indicated at the top of the Benoit entry. According to the listed history on the Benoit entry, the computer used to post the 12:01 a.m. entry had a Stamford, Conn., Internet Protocol — or IP — address, a numeric designation that is assigned to every computer with an Internet connection, and that same address has been used to post about a dozen other messages on the site, dating back to May 16, 2007.In related news, FOXNews.com also has learned, through widely posted Web reports, that former pro wrestler Sherri Martel, who was found dead on June 15, was linked to former wrestler Kevin Sullivan — ex-husband of Nancy Benoit.Click here to read more about the death of Sherri Martel.Martel, who had a reputation as one of the top managers in pro wrestling, was found dead at her mother's home in near Birmingham, Ala., on June 15. She was 49.Investigators, who have not yet determined Martel's cause of death, say foul play is not suspected but that Martel did not die of natural causes.The Associated Press contributed to this report.10:29 AM - 1 Comments - 0 Kudos - Add Comment - Edit - Remove
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Links To Benoit Headlines World Wrestling Entertainment Incorporated videos0 results foundWorld Wrestling Entertainment Incorporated featuresPage 1 of 6 Wrestler Saw His Doctor the Day He Killed His WifeWWE Lawyer Says Son's Rare Illness Was a 'Stressor' for BenoitsJun. 27, 2007WWE: Benoit Told Others Family Was IllWrestler Who Strangled Wife, Smothered Son Said He'd Be Late to Event Because Family Was IllJun. 27, 2007 Greg Bluestein Associated Press WriterWrestler and Wife Argued Over Child CarePro Wrestler Chris Benoit and Wife Argued Over Care of Mentally Retarded 7-Year-Old SonJun. 27, 2007 Greg Bluestein Associated Press WriterLogging On and Letting it Out: Grieving OnlineInternet Surfers Share Emotions With Strangers on Blogs and ForumsJun. 26, 2007 Emily FriedmanPHOTOS: The Career of Wrestler Chris BenoitWorld Wrestling Entertainment's Chris Benoit, his wife and 7-year-old son were found dead Monday afternoon, and authorities are investigating the deaths as murder-suicide. Sheriff's Lt.Jun. 26, 2007Search for Answers in Wrestlers Murder-SuicideSteroids and Food Poisoning are Among Clues Found in Chris Benoits HomeJun. 26, 2007 Greg Bluestein Associated Press WriterPro wrestler Benoit kills family then himselfMIAMI (Reuters) - Professional wrestling superstar Chris Benoit killed his wife and 7-year-old son before hanging himself from his weight machine, authorities said on Tuesday.Jun. 26, 2007Wrestler Benoit dead in apparent murder-suicideMIAMI (Reuters) - Professional wrestling superstar Chris Benoit was found dead along with his wife and 7-year-old son in what police believe was a murder-suicide,Jun. 26, 2007More Results:« prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 next »6:04 AM - 0 Comments - 0 Kudos - Add Comment - Edit - RemovePosted by pussinboots on Sunday, July 01, 2007 at 5:47 PM
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