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Benoits doctor said he met with the wrestler day of the killings
Wrestler Dead Bear
A note along with the small teddy bear, wrestler and angel lies at the gate in front of the home of WWE professional wrestler Chris Benoit, Tuesday, June 26, 2007, in Fayetteville, Ga. 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 weightlifting machine, authorities said Tuesday. - photo by Associated Press
    ATLANTA — Professional wrestler Chris Benoit met with his personal physician hours before he allegedly killed his wife and son and then hanged himself in his basement, the doctor said Wednesday.
    ‘‘He was in my office on Friday to stop by just to see my staff,’’ said Dr. Phil Astin of metro Atlanta. ‘‘He certainly didn’t show any signs of any distress or rage or anything.’’
    Authorities say Benoit strangled his wife, suffocated his 7-year-old son Daniel and placed a Bible next to their bodies before hanging himself with a weight-machine pulley over the weekend. No motive was offered for the killings, which were spread out over the weekend and discovered Monday.
    Astin, who said he was Benoit’s longtime friend and physician, 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.
    ‘‘I’m still very surprised and shocked, especially with his child Daniel involved,’’ said Astin. ‘‘He worshipped his child.’’
    Investigators said Benoit’s 43-year-old wife was strangled Friday with what appeared to be a cable 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.
    Before the killings, the family was struggling with how to care for the child, who suffered from a rare medical condition called Fragile X Syndrome, an inherited form of mental retardation, said Jerry McDevitt, an attorney for World Wrestling Entertainment.
    ‘‘Him and Nancy were clearly struggling about this whole issue, about how to take care of Daniel,’’ said McDevitt.
    ‘‘I don’t know what he confronted when he went back into the house,’’ he said. ‘‘No one really knows that. We’ll have to see. Clearly this issue of the son was a stressor on both of their relationships for some time.’’
    District Attorney Scott Ballard said the autopsy indicated that there were no bruise marks on his neck, so authorities are now assuming he could have been killed using a choke hold. ‘‘It’s a process of elimination,’’ he said.
    Anabolic steroids were found in Benoit’s home, leading officials to wonder whether the drugs may have caused the muscle man nicknamed the ‘‘Canadian Crippler’’ to kill his wife and child and then himself.
    Meanwhile, Fayette County authorities are investigating a link between Benoit and a Florida business that may have supplied him with anabolic steroids.
    Benoit received drug deliveries from Signature Pharmacy and, a Florida business that sold steroids, human growth hormone and testosterone on the Internet, Albany County, N.Y., District Attorney David Soares said in a statement Wednesday.
    ‘‘As we have seen, the effects of this type of drug abuse can have devastating effects on individuals and their families, and we will continue to prosecute all those who illegally distribute narcotics and controlled substances to Albany citizens,’’ he said in the statement.
    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. ‘‘We ought to be in touch with Albany folks. Certainly we need to corroborate with them, see if we’ve got anything that helps them and they have anything that helps us.’’
    A lawyer for MedXLife co-owner Dr. Gary Brandwein scoffed at the 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 Albany County prosecutors 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 on 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.
    The WWE, based in Stamford, Conn., issued a news release 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.
    ‘‘The drugs they had found in there, including the steroids, were all pursuant to legitimate prescription. We know they know which doctor prescribed it,’’ McDevitt told the AP on Wednesday. ‘‘There’s no question, none of these drugs are out there, none of these drugs came from Internet pharmacies.’’
    While steroids can cause the paranoia and explosive outbursts known as ‘‘roid rage,’’ the drug is also associated with deep and lengthy bouts of depression.
    ‘‘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.’’
    Associated Press writer Brian Skoloff in West Palm Beach, Fla. contributed to this report.

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