The timeline of events below are taken from the archives of Wrestling-Online.com and Wrestling-Online Newsletter. All information was accurate at time of the date stamps below.
Timeline of story: 06/25/2007 to 06/12/2009.
Monday, June 25, 2007
҂ In the most shocking story of the year, Chris Benoit, age 40, his wife, age 43, and son, age 7, were found dead at their home in Fayetteville, GA., and the police are treating this as a murder-suicide case. His wife Nancy was found dead in the living room, his seven year old son Daniel in his room and Benoit in the weight room according to reports coming from Atlanta. Benoit is believed to have killed his wife on Saturday and son on Sunday and then killed himself on Monday. Benoit was sent home on Saturday after requesting time off to attend to personal problems, missing both the Saturday show in Beaumont and the Vengeance pay-per-view in Houston, TX.
҂ TMZ.COM is reporting that Chris Benoit strangled his wife on Saturday then went ahead and smothered his seven year old son in his bed the next day. “Investigators refuse to officially comment, pending final confirmation by the coroner on the cause and time of the deaths,” TMZ.COM says. TMZ.COM are also adding that sources are saying that officers found Benoit hanged in a weight room inside their home.
҂ According to WWE.COM, several ‘curious’ text messages sent by Benoit to his WWE friends on Sunday resulted in an alert to WWE officials who related the information to Fayette County sheriffs on Monday. Unfortunately it was too late as by the time they checked his house in Fayetteville the Benoit family was dead. Benoit apparently moved recently to the new house which was guarded by two large German Shepards. WWE received the news of the discovery at 4PM. In a press conference held later in the night by Lt. Pope and district attorney Scott Ballard, it was officially announced that this case was a double murder-suicide. Autopsy will be conducted today and toxicology reports won’t be available for the next two weeks.
҂ Fayette County District Attorney Scott Ballard told the Atlanta Journal Constitution that investigators are pretty sure how the Benoit family died however they are waiting for the crime lab reports to confirm their findings. “The details, when they come out, are going to prove a little bizarre,” he told the newspaper. Ballard said that no suspects outside the home are under interrogation which pretty much confirms the one-man job.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
҂ The death of Chris Benoit forced WWE to cancel the three hour edition of Monday Night RAW yesterday and was replaced by a tribute to the former World Heavyweight champion. RAW opened with Vince McMahon standing inside an empty arena addressing the people at home about the events that occurred, saying that while this show was supposed to be about his death angle, a real life tragedy happened. Several WWE Superstars shared their Benoit stories during the course of the three hour show like they did when Owen Hart and Eddie Guerrero passed away. All mentions of the McMahon ‘death’ storyline were wiped out from WWE.COM and the angle will apparently be canceled after yesterday’s unfortunate events.
҂ The news of the Benoit’s family death was splashed all over the media both television, print and Internet. ‘Chris Benoit’s Dark Side’ read the first, big headline on FOXNews.com earlier, giving the story the top priority yesterday night and early this morning on their website. CNN.COM also has the article as it’s main feature whereas Yahoo! News, Sports Illustrated and tons of online newspapers worldwide covered the story on their respective websites.
҂ A couple of hours ago, a press conference was held in front of reporters headed up by Fayette County District Attorney Scott Ballard and Lt. Tommy Pope of the Fayette County Sheriff’s Department. The cause of death for all three members is asphyxiation, as Chris Benoit first strangled his wife with an electric cord and then smothered his seven year old son with a bag. His wife was found in the living room while his son was in his bedroom upstairs. Chris was found in the weight room in the basement hanging from the pulley of a weight machine.
During the press conference they said that Nancy was killed on late Friday night, his son on Saturday and Chris on early Sunday morning as opposed to Saturday, Sunday and Monday as previously noted. When a reporter asked how long after he killed his son Chris did the suicide the answer was, “Several hours later but not more than a day.” He placed a copy of the Bible next to the dead bodies of his wife and son.
His 43 year old wife Nancy had blood on the back of her head and her body was wrapped in a towel with hands and feet tied up. A lot of prescribed medications were found by CSI’s although it’s believed that they were all legally given to him by doctors and anabolic steroids were also found in the house.
No motive was given at this time although they did give an indication that they might know the real story why this happened. Benoit sent a text message to one of his co-workers – believed to be Chavo Guerrero – but details of the message were not revealed.
҂ The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has revealed information on the personal life of Chris and his wife Nancy, saying that Nancy – who was part of WCW playing the character Woman – filed for divorce and an order of protection four years ago, in May of 2003.
According to the divorce papers, Chris has threatened to hit her multiple times and even caused damage to their home furniture and personal belongings. The judge presiding the case issued a restraining order against the former champ and prevented him from entering their house. His wife dropped the case later that year and the two resumed their relationship afterwards.
҂ TMZ.COM managed to get the papers in question, which you can read here. The two moved in together in 1997 after they carried their WCW on-screen relationship to real life and got married in 2000. Together they had one child, Daniel, who was also killed in the attack. Benoit has two other children from a previous relationship, David and Megan, who were not in the house and don’t live with their dad.
҂ Tonight’s Smackdown! and ECW tapings will go on as usual, taping from the AT&T Center in San Antonio, TX., however there will be no angles or funny backstage vignettes and the shows will instead focus on wrestling matches. Those who don’t feel like going out and doing the job are free to refuse although everyone booked is expected to get in the ring. Dave Meltzer of the Observer says that everyone backstage was wrecked by the news and Vince McMahon held the whole team up. Long time friends and co-workers of Benoit are still having a hard time accepting the fact what Benoit did to his own family.
҂ As the day progresses and more news comes out from yesterday’s Benoit family massacre, WWE.COM keeps removing anything related to Chris Benoit. While yesterday the whole page was dominated by Benoit videos and articles, today only the main feature is about the former champion, linking to an article with the headline ‘Benoit’s death part of a double murder-suicide’. All Chris Benoit items on the WWEShop.com online shopping site have been removed, quite probably to remove any association with what facts are point to – Benoit being a murderer. TNAWrestling.com, the official website of TNA, also removed the earlier posting about Chris Benoit’s death.
҂ “It’s almost like reliving the whole Owen death over again.” Those were the words of former WWE and WCW champion Bret ‘Hit Man’ Hart when being interviewed by the Calgary Sun regarding the death of Chris Benoit and his family. Hart said that he doesn’t know the details yet, and probably doesn’t want to know. He said his whole family took it really hard as Benoit was like a member of the Hart family. Bret Hart’s brother Ross and sister Diana also gave comments, which you can read here.
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
҂ WWE.COM posted a detailed time line of the events over the weekend, from Benoit canceling his appearance in Beaumont, TX., to his final text message. Benoit told his WWE co-workers that his family was sick and both his wife and son were throwing up blood. After WWE officials rescheduled his flight to Houston for the PPV, Benoit started sending bizarre messages on Sunday early morning starting at 3:53.
Benoit sent messages from his cell phone and his wife’s, who was already dead along with her son by that time. Four of the five messages contained “My physical address is 130 Green Meadow Lane. Fayetteville Georgia. 30215” while the other one had “The dogs are in the enclosed pool area. Garage side door is open,” indicating to his friends where they will be finding his body and those of his wife and son. The last message was received at 3:58AM and sent to the Chavo Guerrero and William Regal, the same people who Benoit talked to on Friday.
҂ As investigators continue to look for clues as to what triggered Chris Benoit to kill his wife and son and then commit suicide, the possibility of drugs and steroid use is being considered. Crime scene investigators found a lot of prescribed drugs and anabolic steroids in the house which were all legally prescribed to Benoit according to Fayette District Attorney Scott Ballard. WWE is taking a defensive stand on this one, even sending a press release to outline certain points.
“The physical findings announced by authorities indicate deliberation, not rage. The wife’s feet and hands were bound and she was asphyxiated, not beaten to death. By the account of the authorities, there were substantial periods of time between the death of the wife and the death of the son, again suggesting deliberate thought, not rage. The presence of a Bible by each is also not an act of rage.”
The company also said that Benoit was tested last for drugs on April 10th 2007 and the results were negative. Toxicology reports won’t come out for the next couple of weeks and WWE said it’s unfair to blame drugs and steroids at this early stage especially when the authorities stated there is no evidence yet.
҂ Fayette County District Attorney Scott Ballard provided some additional details on the bodies of Nancy and Daniel Benoit during media appearances on television. Ballard said that Nancy had bruises on her back consistent with someone holding her down with a knee and bruises on her chest which suggests she was crushed to the ground. The Medical Examiner also found old needle marks in the arm of Daniel Benoit which could have been from HGH – human growth hormone – shots he was given when he was younger. The seven year old child was said to be smaller in size than what other normal children his age would be.
҂ While the fans in Corpus Christi missed out on the three hour RAW that was supposed to happen this past Monday night, the show has been rescheduled for July 16th. Initially RAW on that day was going to be live from Calgary, and going to Canada so early after this tragedy was going to be painful and hard. Smackdown! and ECW on July 17th from Edmonton – which is ‘Benoit country’ – were also canceled although no replacement city has been announced yet. The two other Smackdown!/ECW non-TV events in Saskatoon on the 14th and Regina on the 15th were canceled as well.
҂ W-O Newsletter reader ‘ShadyRudy’ attended yesterday’s Smackdown!/ECW TV tapings in San Antonio, TX., and sent in word that security had a tough job to keep out all the signs related to Chris Benoit. Anyone in the stands who displayed signs such as ‘RIP’, ‘Future Hall of Fame’, ‘Eddy & Chris’ and other related signs were taken away. Vince McMahon kicked off the ECW on Sci Fi TV tapings yesterday by making the following announcement.
“Last night on Monday Night Raw, the WWE presented a special tribute show, recognizing the career of Chris Benoit. However, now some 26 hours later, the facts of this horrific tragedy are now apparent. Therefore, other than my comments, there will be no mention of Mr. Benoit tonight. On the contrary, tonight’s show will be dedicated to everyone who has been affected by this terrible incident. This evening marks the first step of the healing process. Tonight, the WWE performers will do what they do better than anyone else in the world – entertain you.”
҂ The ex wife of Stone Cold Steve Austin, Debra, gave her comments to FOX31 Colorado yesterday regarding the Benoit family murder. “The domestic and drug abuse is out of hand in the WWE and something needs to be done about it,” she said while adding that she saw Austin doing drugs during his time in WWE when they were married. Debra said that she and Nancy Benoit had a lot in common as both filed for divorce and both were forced to write a letter to drop the case. Debra said that while Austin was put on probation for a year, she was placed under a gag order which prevented her to keep the “dark side” of wrestling from going out to the public. “If only I had spoken up sooner, maybe Nancy and her little boy would be alive today…that’s why I’m going public now, something has to change!”
҂ The Chris Benoit tribute show this past Monday night did a 3.8 composite rating with a 6.2 share, off hours 3.5, 4.1 and 3.9. For its usual time slot of 9PM to 11PM, the show had a composite of 4.0, a drop of 0.2 from the previous week. AM RAW on early Sunday morning did a 0.6 with a 2.8 share while Smackdown! last Friday did a 2.4 with a 4.8 share. (Ratings compiled by Nielsen Media Research and put online by PWInsider.com)
҂ The tragic events of this past weekend sparked a huge interest on the topic on the Yahoo! website with searches for ‘Chris Benoit’ shooting through the roof. Benoit holds the top spot in the ‘Top movers’ and ‘Top leaders’ categories. Yesterday Yahoo! Buzz Index dedicated an entry on the subject, titled ‘Benoit’s Tragic Tale Rocks Search’, the same way they did when Vince McMahon’s limo blew up, resulting in massive searches for the truth. Searches for ‘WWE’ trail Benoit in the second place and searches for ‘Vince McMahon’ puts him in fifth in the ‘Top leaders’ chart.
Thursday, June 28, 2007
҂ Child care may have been one of the problems in the Benoit family and the husband and wife argued a lot over the situation according to Jerry McDevitt, lead attorney for World Wrestling Entertainment. A news story that appeared on the Associated Press revealed that their seven year old son Daniel was mentally retarded, suffering from a rare medical condition called Fragile X Syndrome. “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 McDevitt. “We do know it was a source of stress and consternation.” Nancy Benoit wanted her husband to spend more time at home to take care of his son with her, although she didn’t want him to quit professional wrestling. It’s interesting to note that the Associated Press reported today that ten empty beer cans were located in the house along with an empty bottle of wine which was found next to Benoit’s dead body.
҂ On Friday, the day he murdered his wife, Chris Benoit visited his personal physician Dr. Phil Astin, who was also happened to be a longtime friend. He said that the former champion didn’t give any indications of trouble when he showed up. “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.” Benoit was being treated for low testosterone levels by Dr. Phil Astin, a condition that likely originated from previous steroid use. “I’m still very surprised and shocked, especially with his child Daniel involved,” Astin said. “He worshipped his child.”
҂ The office of Dr. Phil Astin was raided by DEA agents and the Sheriff’s department last night and confiscated computers and other records listed in the warrant according to WSB-TV Channel 2. The raid started yesterday night and concluded early this morning and it was in connection with the Benoit investigation. In the meantime, WSB-TV Channel 2 also obtained a picture sent by a fan who claims to have snapped the last picture of Chris Benoit when he was at Dr. Astin’s office on Friday just hours before he killed his wife. The picture seems to be taken from a camera phone and has Benoit smiling, wearing a cap and black t-shirt. You can see it here.
҂ WWE Chairman Vince McMahon appeared on ‘The Today Show’ with Meredith Viera on NBC this morning to discuss the Benoit family tragedy. The discussion was mainly with the host pressing McMahon on the use of steroids in professional wrestling. Vince said that the last random test Benoit took was in April and it was negative however he said that it doesn’t mean he wasn’t taking them when this happened. Vince said that hopefully the toxicology report will shed some light on the situation although since the crime was done over a period of three days he suspects that roid rage is out of the question.
McMahon said that the company had no indication at all that this person would turn out to be a “monster” and do what he did to his family. In the closing moments, Vince said that the company is not trying to hide the fact that Benoit was part of their organization, because, in his words, “unfortunately, he was”. He added it was time to find a way to move on in the best way possible for the company and its fans.
҂ There’s a big mystery involving a Wikipedia entry which listed the death of Nancy Benoit on Chris Benoit’s page on the site hours before the Sheriff’s department arrived on location and identified the three bodies. The Associated Press ran an article regarding this and lead WWE attorney Jerry McDevitt said that they had no idea who posted this and it’s possible that Benoit may have sent other test messages to someone else who they are unaware of. The posting came from someone located in Stamford, CT., – the home of WWE – although WWE deny posting this. The post was deleted but later resurfaced and McDevitt said that investigators are looking into the people behind the posting.
Friday, June 29, 2007
҂ The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is reporting that funeral services for Chris Benoit will be held in a province of Alberta, Canada while the funeral for Nancy and their son Daniel will probably be done in Daytona Beach, FL., where her parents live. Chris’ father, Michael Benoit said that the family will take a long time to come to terms with what happened, if they ever do. “It’s a horrible, horrible event that’s happened,” he told the newspaper.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Nancy’s family. We’re very concerned about the long-term affects on her family. There are no words to describe the loss we feel,” he added. Mother and son are expected to be cremated in Georgia after a funeral home assisting the family picks up the bodies from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab medical examiner’s office. It will be interesting to see if WWE will have a presence at the Nancy and Daniel funeral service and while the company won’t be there officially at Chris’ funeral, close personal friends of Benoit might make the trip.
҂ The mystery of the Wikipedia entry regarding Chris Benoit and the mention of his wife passing away several hours before authorities even knew about was partially resolved yesterday after one of the people who made the entry submitted an apology for his posting. The user, who lives in Stamford, CT., said that he heard rumors why Benoit didn’t make it on the PPV and proceeded to post that his wife passed away without having reliable sources. The problem was that it ended up to be true, which raised some alarms to investigators on the case. “It is one of those things that just turned into a huge coincidence,” the anonymous user said. The apology is on the front page of WikiNews and you can read it here.
҂ Free-to-air Italian television station Italia Uno has dropped WWE Smackdown! from its lineup following the Benoit family double-murder suicide that rocked the wrestling industry. Smackdown! aired on Sundays but a press release issued today from the Italia Uno officials stated that in light of this week’s tragedy, the show will be taken off the air indefinitely in respect to those children who might confuse real life situations with fantasy. Italia Uno director Luca Tiraboschi added that as long as the WWE Superstars ‘traded punches’ in the ring for storyline reasons only, then it was all fine for the channel as the show fit the entertainment category however when situations like this surface, Italia Uno is not in it anymore. Sky Italia – which is pay TV – will still carry other WWE programming.
҂ WWE.COM got rid of all the news stories on Chris Benoit from the website yesterday, a move which was expected to come at anytime. In the past few days WWE.COM kept updating a section with the timeline and other news stories on the ‘Canadian Crippler’. The corporate WWE website at corporate.wwe.com still has the press releases that the company sent regarding this case.
Saturday, June 30, 2007
҂ In the upcoming issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter there is a huge story on the death of the Benoit family with some revealing information. Investigators found bruises on the neck and arm of seven year old Daniel and couldn’t figure out what was used to cause that kind of bruising. Authorities realized what was done after they saw a tape of Benoit applying the ‘Crossface’ during one of his matches and eventually it was ruled that he used a variation of the move on his son to kill him. While police said it was a choke hold during media appearances, they didn’t want to make it sound worse releasing the information how the kid got murdered.
Another interesting point is that recently Chris Benoit made a life insurance and included his ex wife and two kids from that marriage as the beneficiaries, leaving out Nancy and Daniel. The general theory why the murders happened is that Nancy was going to inform him that she was leaving with their son and that’s when Chris went crazy. It is believed that he killed his son because he thought he would never live a good life considering his medical conditions without his parents.
҂ Martina Benoit, the ex wife of former World champion of Chris Benoit gave some comments to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper saying that her ex husband was the “most loving person anyone could imagine.” Telling the newspaper that she “loves him”, Martina Benoit called the allegations of the killings “crap” before hanging up and ending the call. The two have two other children from their previous marriage. She lives in Ardrossan, Alberta, Canada with their two kids.
҂ Chris Benoit’s personal physician seems that he has gone missing in action as the DEA did a second raid in his offices in Georgia and also raided his mother’s home, who also was not there. This is now an official DEA investigation which spells trouble for the doc as they will get information on those other personalities who he prescribed steroids in the past. Benoit visited Dr. Phil Astin on Friday of last week, just hours before he murdered his wife Nancy.
҂ In another twist in the Wikipedia posting saga, authorities managed to locate the person who posted the entry on Wikipedia regarding Nancy Benoit’s death hours before Georgia police even knew and took away the computer used to make the posting. While the anonymous user – who lives in Stamford, CT., – said it was just a coincidence and posted the information without credible sources, police are going to look deeper into the story as they feel the person could be hiding something and his computer might contain important evidence. The person who made the posting apologized yesterday and his unedited letter appeared yesterday on Wikinews.org.
҂ For the first time since the tragedy, the parents of Nancy Benoit, Paul and Maureen Toffoloni, released a statement through their attorney to ESPN.COM. “We’re trying to stay out of their way right now,” their attorney 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.” Nancy’s parents said that they often baby-sit seven year old Daniel but never noticed any medical issues with him. “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 statement said.
Monday, July 2, 2007
҂ Chris Benoit’s personal physician Dr. Phil Astin could face charges from the federal government although the Georgia state prosecutor in charge of the Benoit investigation said that he has no plans to file criminal charges but he doesn’t know what the federal government will do. “From our standpoint, I have no reason to believe there will be any criminal charges at the current time,” Fayette County District Attorney Scott Ballard told The Associated Press. “What the federal government is going to do, it will be up to them.” Dr. Astin’s attorney said that it’s possible that federal charges will be filed against his client in connection with the two raids carried out by the DEA last week. “I wouldn’t be shocked if there’s some charges that come out of this,” he said to the AP. Astin went MIA, along with his mother, after the raids. Manny Arora, the attorney, said that Astin will turn himself in if he is asked to do so. A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office declined to say Monday if any charges were planned….
҂ And this just in! The Associated Press is reporting that Dr. Phil Astin has been charged with seven counts of distributing painkillers and other drugs to other clients, a case brought forward by the federal government. Astin prescribed drugs such as Percocet, Xanax, Lorcet and Vicoprofen between April 2004 and September 2005. It is believed that he prescribed Xanax on Friday for Benoit as well. The recipients were identified in the indictment by the initials O.G. and M.J. A criminal complaint was also filed, but was under seal. Astin, who vanished after the first DEA raid last week, surrendered himself to local authorities and is expected to make an initial court appearance Monday afternoon. Federal prosecutors are seeking the forfeiture of all property and proceeds Astin obtained through the illegal conduct if he’s convicted.
҂ ESPN.COM is running a huge article which contains comments from Nancy Benoit’s ex husband, Jim Daus. Interesting to note is that it was him who introduced her to wrestling the first time, getting front row seats to a show in Orlando when they were just kids. However after she was sucked into the business, all the tours ended up destroying their marriage and the two agreed that a divorce was the best way to go. Daus said he met Nancy face to face for the first time since they split nine years ago while in a plane heading out of Chicago. He said the two tallked for around four hours and the last time they communicated by e-mail was seven years ago when Chris’ and Nancy’s son Daniel was born. Daus added that he couldn’t sleep for the first three days after news came out that Nancy was murdered by her husband. “I pushed her into this whole thing,” he said, reflecting on the time he took her to the first wrestling match in Orlando back when they were still kids.
Tuesday, July 3, 2007
҂ The death of Chris Benoit could have the biggest impact in World Wrestling Entertainment and its Wellness Program program. Introduced after Eddie Guerrero passed away in late 2005, the Wellness Program randomly tests WWE Superstars for steroid use and other medication which wasn’t in their system after their baseline test. According to the DEA, Chris Benoit received a ten month supply of steroids every three to four weeks in the period of May 2006 to May 2007 from his personal physician Dr. Phil Astin. WWE sent a press release last week saying that Benoit was tested in the beginning of April of this year for steroid use and the results came in negative. The news of Benoit receiving that large amount of steroids every four weeks puts the Wellness Program credibility in jeopardy regardless of the outcome of the toxicology reports.
҂ Dr. Phil Astin – who surrendered himself yesterday – was arrested by Georgia police and charged with seven counts of distributing painkillers and other drugs to other clients, a case brought forward by the federal government. He was later released on a $125,000 secured bond however his freedom came with a few conditions. His medical license was revoked and he was placed under house arrest and forced to wear an electronic monitoring ankle bracelet. Astin’s lawyer, Manny Arora, said his client was innocent of the charges and said that Astin never prescribed steroids to Chris Benoit – a friend for the past six years. DEA agents stormed his offices twice last week and took computers, files and other information that could spell big trouble for other wrestlers or sports celebrities who were prescribed with drugs and steroids. The search warrant was obtained by the website TheSmokingGun.com and you can read it here.
҂ In comments given to Newsday.com, WWE said that its testing program is one of the most aggressive of its kind compared to other tests by competitive sports organizations and as WWE put it, it’s “unique for an entertainment company.” Despite the reports of Benoit getting a huge chunk of steroids every couple of weeks, WWE stood firm by its tests although the company said that it would 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.”
WWE said that the abuse of drugs and steroids is unacceptable in the company. Dr. Gary Wadler, a Manhasset steroid expert criticized WWE’s drug test policy calling it woefully lacking. He said that WWE allows for a higher threshold of testosterone in a person’s system than in other sports before considering a steroid test positive. The company gives wrestlers up to an hour’s notice before the test is done. Dr. Wadler also noted that WWE prohibits only ‘non-medical use’ of banned drugs and allows wrestlers to provide a doctor’s explanation for use even after testing positive.
҂ Dave Scherer of PWInsider.com is reporting that Nancy and Daniel Benoit’s funerals will be held on Saturday July 14th at the Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Daytona Beach, FL., starting at 1PM. The address is 201 University Blvd, Daytona Beach, FL 32118. No funeral arrangements for Chris Benoit have been made yet although it will happen where his parents live in Alberta, Canada.
Wednesday, July 4, 2007
҂ The Boston Herald is running a story about the person who found the bodies of the Benoit family. As it turns out, it was in fact their neighbor, Holly McFague, who had the keys to their house and went in first when the police came knocking. McFague moved temporarily to Boston as authorities took over the area where the Benoit’s were found dead. And her representative said that she can’t go home because her house is surrounded by media. Apparently the police knocked on her house first asking for help as two large dogs guarded the Benoit house.
Since the dogs knew McFague, she went in freely and that’s when she found out that all three members of the Benoit family were dead and ran out of the house screaming. Her rep, George Regan, said that she spoke to Chris on Saturday, the day after Nancy was killed. He went in great lengths to explain how his wife and son were suffering from a food poisoning. “At the time she was thinking that it was way too much information,” he said. “She found him very odd to say the least,” he added. “But she was very close to his wife, and the little boy was friendly with her children.”
҂ Conflicting reports are now surfacing saying that Daniel Benoit did not suffer from Fragile X syndrome as previously reported by the media and Fayette County District Attorney Scott Ballard is moving on as if Daniel was a normal healthy kid. Ballard said in a news release Tuesday that some of the boy’s medical records have been reviewed and “they do not mention any pre-existing mental or physical impairment.” According to his grandparents – Nancy’s parents – Daniel was just like every other kid and they never noticed anything that suggests otherwise during the many times he visited.
Fragile X is an inherited mental impairment which can range from learning disabilities to more severe cognitive or intellectual disabilities. WWE also seem that they’re going ahead and back the District Attorney on this matter. “A lot of people got caught up in the idea Daniel had Fragile X syndrome,” said Gary Davis, vice president of Corporate Communications at WWE. “We were just as caught up as everyone else.”
҂ Chris Benoit’s mother, Margaret, gave comments to the Toronto Star newspaper, saying that her son would probably be still alive if DEA agents took action when they found out that Benoit was buying large quantities of steroids. Earlier this week, the DEA said that Benoit’s name popped up during a probe called ‘RX Weight Loss’ some time ago and Benoit was identified as an excessive purchaser of injectable steroids from a company that was under the microscope.
Asked if quicker action by authorities could have helped her son, she said, “We would certainly hope so. We just don’t know. We’re dealing with so many things. It’s incredible.” The DEA said that it would have been impossible to predict what Benoit was going to do. “You don’t run out and arrest a doctor for making one prescription that is questionable,” a DEA spokesman said. “There’s just not enough evidence to arrest or bring charges. We want to bring charges that are legitimate. Cases take time.” Margaret Benoit said that there’s nothing much they can do now except to mourn Chris, Nancy and Daniel. “It’s so late now, too late. You can’t turn the clock back.”
Thursday, July 5, 2007
҂ When DEA stormed the offices of Dr Phil Astin last week in connection with the Benoit family tragedy it was a matter of when not if, other wrestlers would be exposed as recipients of pain killers and other controlled substances that Dr. Astin prescribed. Two individuals were named in an indictment against the doc – who is under house arrest – but only their initials were revealed which were O.G. and M.J. AOL-owned TMZ.COM revealed the names of those two people:
Oscar Gutierrez, known to fans as Rey Mysterio, and Mark Jindrak. Jindrak hasn’t been part of WWE since June of 2005 however Mysterio was receiving these substances while being one of WWE’s main eventers on the Smackdown! brand. Lead WWE attorney Jerry McDevitt keeps making some bad calls on TV saying no other WWE Superstar ever had contact with that particular doctor. Ouch! Time to call some crisis management specialists.
҂ WWE is getting a lot of press lately although it’s not the press that they would like to get. In the new issue of one of the most popular Hollywood gossip magazines, PEOPLE, Chris Benoit made it on the cover – quite possibly the first pro wrestler to ever be on the front – with the headline ‘Family Secrets. A son’s health mystery, a rocky marriage, a looming drug scandal. Inside the wrestler’s trouble world.’ There’s also a small picture on the side with Chris and his son Daniel from WrestleMania XX. “He wasn’t a monster,” Dean Malenko tells PEOPLE. “We’re talking about a guy who, a month ago, was in Jacksonville and rather than drive down to Orlando, where he needed to be the next day, he took a flight to be home with Daniel.” You can see the cover here.
҂ Jakks Pacific Inc., told the San Mateo County Times that the company has pulled all Benoit toys from its WWE action figure line. “The company takes what happens very seriously; and we don’t want to contribute any more to the situation. So we are no longer going to be distributing or making any more Chris Benoit action figures,” said Genna Rosenberg, spokeswoman of Jakks Pacific Inc. “We have the power to not make them, and no longer send them out, and that’s what we are planning to do.” Jakks are the official action figure makers for World Wrestling Entertainment. The newspaper also said that toys retailer giant Toys ‘R’ Us removed all Chris Benoit toys from its shelves after details of what happened became public. Benoit merchandise is becoming very rare as retailers and online stores pull their items however eBay seems like the place to be to find all your Chris Benoit stuff as the auction site still lists DVDs, action figures and clothing bearing his name with some DVDs even topping the $130 mark.
Monday, July 9, 2007
҂ Tonight at 9PM EST on CNN Larry King will be covering the Chris Benoit double murder/suicide story with guests including Chris Jericho, WWE Hall of Famer Bret ‘Hit Man’ Hart and the current WWE champion John Cena. This is the first time that a WWE personality – except for spokesman and attorney – will be commenting on the situation since this horrible tragedy took place.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
҂ John Cena, Bret Hart, Chris Jericho, Ted DiBiase, Steve Blackman, WWE attorney Jerry McDevitt, Dr Phil Astin’s attorney Manny Arora and Fayette County DA Scott Ballard were all guests on last night’s Larry King Live on CNN to talk about the Benoit family tragedy. All were live in the studio except Hart, Arora and Ballard who were connected via live links. King did not ask the hard questions and everyone talked highly of Chris Benoit although in the final moments they agreed that his last few hours of his life will overshadow everything he did for the wrestling business. Chris Jericho did his homework very well and certainly came out as the most intelligent from the show. The show had clips of Benoit provided by WWE including his WrestleMania XX celebrations, wrestling Bret Hart in WCW, winning the Rumble and other memorable moments in his wrestling career. Bret Hart called for a wrestlers union during the closing minutes while answering an e-mail question.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
҂ A news report on WAGA-TV in Atlanta yesterday reported that from the medical records that the DEA confiscated from Dr Phil Astin’s office it resulted that seven former WWE, WCW and ECW Superstars received steroids and pain killers prescriptions from the doc over the past few years. These are Lex Luger, Marcus Bagwell, Johnny Grunge, Mark Jindrak, Bob Holly, Rey Mysterio and Chris Benoit. Nancy Benoit’s name was also on the list.
҂ Astin’s attorney said numerous times on television and on print that the doctor never prescribed anything illegal to Chris Benoit. The doc is also being investigated in the death of former Public Enemy member Johnny Grunge, who passed away on February 16th at his residence in Peachtree City, GA. Astin pleaded not guilty when he was arraigned last week. His attorney said that depending on the outcome of the investigation he might change it to a guilty plea and bargain with the federal government.
҂ The Associated Press is reporting that some of the chemical tests on the bodies of Chris, Nancy and Daniel Benoit are ready but officials do not want to reveal the tests until all results are in. “We’re going to discuss what we find with local investigators and they can determine what they want to release,” said John Bankhead, spokesman for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. There were some problems with the body of Nancy Benoit as it was already in a decomposing stage and that prevented some tests from being done. Toxicology and blood-alcohol tests were done on Chris’ body while chemical tests were done on Nancy and Daniel. An outside lab was hired to do testing for steroids. “There is going to be some interpretation of what was found,” Bankhead said, without elaborating.
҂ The four day Canadian tour which were supposed to happen at the end of this weekend with RAW and Smackdown!/ECW tapings as well have now been completely canceled. The shows – in Saskatoon, Regina, Calgary and Edmonton – were postponed just days after the Chris Benoit double murder-suicide incident occurred and initially WWE said they were going to reschedule these shows for a later date. However the company is now offering refunds from the point of purchase.
҂ The funeral for Nancy and Daniel Benoit will be happening today at 1PM EST in Daytona Beach, FL., where her parents reside. The funeral services will be held at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church. The address is 201 University Blvd, Daytona Beach, FL 32118. It is not known if there will be any official WWE representation at the funeral. The funeral date for Chris Benoit has been made public as his parents are keeping it a low key however it is expected to happen in Edmonton, Canada where his parents live.
Friday, July 13, 2007
҂ The funeral service for Nancy and Daniel Benoit was held yesterday in Daytona Beach, FL., at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church. The service lasted around an hour and WWE’s Dean Malenko, Fit Finlay, Vickie Guerrero and Jim Ross were among those in attendance, which was less than 100. The name of Chris Benoit was never mentioned during any of the speeches. Reporters from the New York Times, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, New York Daily News and others were also at the funeral to cover it for their respective newspaper. Her family is asking that in lieu of gifts or condolences, donations instead be made to the foundation that they set up in the name of Nancy and Daniel. Donations can be sent to: ‘The Nancy and Daniel Benoit Foundation for Battered Women and Abused Children’ c/o Decker, Hallman, Barber and Briggs, 260 Peachtree St., Suite 1700, Atlanta, GA 30303.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
҂ Toxicology reports on Chris Benoit, his wife Nancy and son Daniel were released today at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation headquarters. Fayette County District Attorney Scott Ballard opened the press conference saying that all the findings so far still leads that Chris murdered his wife and son and then committed suicide. He thanked the crime lab for giving a lot of attention to this case considering there are other urgent cases that need to be taken care of. He said that they will be unable to reply to most of the questions regarding the crime scene or the investigation as the investigation is still ongoing.
Dr Kris Sperry, Chief Medical Examiner at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation crime lab took over to explain the results. Three drugs were discovered in Nancy’s body. These were Hydromorphone, a drug to relieve severe pain. Hydrocodone, otherwise known as Vicodin, which also releaves pain as well as Xanax, which is used to treat anxiety. Her blood alcohol level was 0.184 although Dr Sperry said that it’s wrong to speculate about this because it could have been elevated due to the body decomposing.
Going over Daniel Benoit, he said that Xanax was found in his system as well although this is not a drug that is usually given to a seven year old. Dr Sperry said that they believe that he was sedated by Xanax before being murdered but he wasn’t overdosed with it. They couldn’t get any more results on him due to the very low level of urine found in his body.
Chris Benoit had Xanax and Hydrocodone in his system which were not at a toxic or elevated levels however he had an elevated level of testosterone found in his urine. “The presence of the testosterone alone even could be an indicator that he was being treated for testicular insufficiency,” he said. Dr Sperry added that no other illegal steroids were found in his body. A reporter asked if Soma – a muscle relaxer – was found in his system but he said no. He also said that the injection of testosterone was irrelevant to the murders and they still can’t explain why he did what he did.
҂ WWE issued a statement just moments ago regarding the toxicology report on Chris Benoit. The full statement reads as follows. “WWE understands that the toxicology reports for Chris Benoit indicate that he tested positive for testosterone and negative for anabolic steroids. On Mr. Benoit’s last drug test in April 2007 administered by Aegis Labs, he tested negative for anabolic steroids and for testosterone. Given the toxicology report of GBI released today, it would appear that Mr. Benoit took testosterone sometime after his April 2007 test and the time he died. WWE understands that his dealings with Dr. Astin are currently being investigated, and WWE has no knowledge of whether Dr. Astin prescribed testosterone for Mr. Benoit at some point after the April 2007 tests. For over 20 years, the WWE has been demonstrating our concern for the well being of our contracted athletes, instituting drug testing in 1987 leading up to our current Wellness Program which began on February 27, 2006, administered by Dr. David L. Black of Aegis Sciences Corporation – one of the world’s foremost drug testing authorities. We believe our Wellness Program is at the very least comparable to those of professional sports and is a program that will benefit WWE Superstars for generations to come.”
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
҂ The Associated Press is running a story today about Chris Benoit and his hormone disorder that according to his personal doctor’s attorney, the steroids prescribed to the former World champion were for legitimate use. Manny Arora, who is representing Dr Astin in the case, said that a federal agent failed to tell a judge who issued the search warrants about the condition that Benoit was suffering from. DEA agents found that Benoit was being prescribed 10 months worth of anabolic steroids every three to four weeks for a whole year from May 2006 to May 2007. Arora said that if the US government consulted a hormone disorder specialist, they would have learned that the amount of steroids in question was not excessive and would be the appropriate dosage based on his medical condition. Astin has pleaded not guilty to federal charges of improperly prescribing painkillers and other drugs to two patients other than Benoit. Federal prosecutors plan a superseding indictment with new charges. He is free on bail but must remain in his home except under limited circumstances. A pretrial conference is scheduled for September 18th.
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
҂ Brain examination results from Chris Benoit came out today and tests performed indicated that there was big damage from repeated concussions and other blows to the head. Similar tests conducted on other five athletes – two of whom committed suicide – showed that Benoit had the highest level of brain damage compared to the other five. These results were presented in New York this morning during a press conference hosted by Dr. Julian Bailes of the Department of Neurosurgery at West Virginia University and Dr. Robert Cantu, the Chief of Neurosurgery Service and Director of Sports Medicine at Emerson Hospital in Concord, MA. Dr. Bailes said that considering the amount of brain damage found it was enough to explain the double murder-suicide.
Thursday September 6, 2007
҂ Michael Benoit, the father of former World heavyweight champion Chris Benoit, will give his first in-depth prime time interview tonight at 9PM EST on Larry King Live on CNN. His family and Nancy Benoit’s family are currently locked up in a legal fight to see who will get the estate of Chris whose assets are worth millions of dollars. A report released by two neurosurgeon doctors just days ago revealed that Chris Benoit’s brain had massive damage from repeated blows and concussions from his wrestling career and the findings were enough to attribute the cause of his actions.
҂ WWE has responded to the findings revealed yesterday on Chris Benoit’s brain examination, which was announced at a press conference hosted by Dr. Julian Bailes of the Department of Neurosurgery at West Virginia University and Dr. Robert Cantu, the Chief of Neurosurgery Service and Director of Sports Medicine at Emerson Hospital in Concord, MA. The WWE reply, issued the following response.
“Today’s attempt to explain that Chris Benoit’s murder of his family was possibly caused by some form of dementia as a result of alleged concussions is speculative. WWE can certainly understand the anguish of a father having to deal with the fact that his son allegedly murdered his wife and young son, as Chris Benoit is alleged to have done. We respect the desire of that father to do whatever he can to find some explanation as to why his son might commit such horrible acts.”
Friday, May 30, 2008
҂ Chris Benoit’s personal physician, Dr. Phil Astin, has been indicted yesterday by a federal grand jury on a whooping 175 different counts all related to illegally prescribing drugs to numerous patients, including Chris Benoit. Dr. Astin allegedly provided multiple prescriptions during the same day, wrote inappropriate combinations of drugs and giving methadone to patients in advanced for months and years. “Since the initial indictment in this case, investigators have carefully reviewed hundreds of patient files and interviewed dozens of witnesses, and we now see a much broader picture of the disturbing and dangerous distribution of prescription drugs,” said U.S. District Attorney David Nahmias.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
҂ The former physician for Chris Benoit, Dr. Phil Astin, was sentenced to ten years in prison earlier today after pleading guilty to one hundred and seventy five counts of distributing prescription drugs illegally and conspiring to distribute drugs. Astin got half of the maximum sentence he could have been given and will have three years of supervised release after he’s out of the slammer as has to do additional community service. Astin’s name popped up during the investigation of the double murder-suicide of Chris Benoit and his wife Nancy and son Daniel. He was responsible of giving Benoit – and other patients – all the prescription drugs. Astin pleaded not guilty the first time around however changed his plea earlier this year which resulted in a lesser jail time.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
҂ Chris Benoit’s father, Michael, gave some comments to iNews880 AM, a radio station in Edmonton following the sentencing of Dr. Phil Astin yesterday. “Now, since the trial is over, perhaps that (medical records) will be made available to us. Perhaps that will provide more insight to how the doctor was treating my son, whether or not he was doing the proper follow-up, and making sure that what he was prescribing was doing any good, or if my son just kept asking for it. I’m really not sure,” he said. Astin was Benoit’s personal doctor and prescribed several illegal drugs to the former World Heavyweight champion. Astin was sentenced to 10 years in prison after getting a plea deal with the prosecution. He initially declared himself not guilty but faced twenty years in prison and a $1 million fine on each of the 175 counts he was charged.
Friday, June 12, 2009
҂ Nancy Benoit’s parents, Maureen and Paul Toffoloni filed a wrongful death lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Newnan against Dr. Phil Astin III and three drug distributors for their role in contributing to the death of their daughter Nancy and grandchild Daniel. The lawsuit also includes an affidavit by a veteran Long Island sports medicine doctor who reviewed Benoit’s medical records according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution newspaper. The family is seeking monetary damages for pain, suffering and all expenses along with the “full value” of the deceased lives. Dr. Phil Astin was sentenced to ten years in prison last month after cutting a deal following a guilty plea to 175 counts of distributing prescription drugs illegally and conspiring to distribute drugs. WWE and the McMahon family were not named in the lawsuit as the Toffoloni’s figured the big guns at WWE would go all out against them including revealing information that better be kept secret for everyone involved.