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Authorities Raid Benoit`s Doctor`s Office Again
Aired June 29, 2007 - 20:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, GUEST HOST: Tonight, breaking news in the tragic story of a superstar WWE wrestler and his entire family found dead inside their upscale home in the Atlanta suburbs. Tonight, for the second time this week, DEA agents come down on Chris Benoit`s personal doctor, raiding his office and now his home. What did federal agents find during the first search, forcing them to return for more evidence? What role, if any, did anabolic steroids play in the crime? Toxicology reports still pending as the local district attorney weighs possible charges.
And tonight, the father of Chris Benoit speaks out about this tragedy. Did Benoit`s family and friends see this coming? Tonight, the bodies released to their families. Funeral plans are now under way. And police investigating just how the crime spree made its way on line hours before police actually discovered the bodies.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Atlanta affiliate WSB saying that authorities are now raiding the office of Chris Benoit`s doctor for a second time, in addition to a raid on the home of Dr. Phil Astin`s mother, which is apparently where he is living. Now, you may recall Astin`s name was on prescriptions of anabolic steroids and narcotics found in the wrestler`s home.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Good evening. I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell, in tonight for Nancy Grace. Major developments in an unfolding tragedy. Superstar WWE wrestler, Chris Benoit, his wife and 7-year-old son, who suffered from a rare medical condition called fragile X syndrome, all found dead inside their upscale gated community in the Atlanta suburbs.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re here outside the office of Dr. Phil Astin in downtown Carrollton, where federal agents raided it just a short time ago. They came in and used a battering ram to get inside the door here and apparently were searching for a variety of things and had another warrant to come inside here. They`re also at the home, about six blocks from here, where the doctor had been staying with his mother and some other family members.
What is different about this raid than the one on Wednesday evening?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Simply, we`re looking -- again, the investigation is going forward, and we`re still following leads. So I have to say it`s a different focus as far as the lead investigative agency.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, we are talking about the strange and very sad case of Chris Benoit, the professional wrestler who seemed to be on top of the world, but who privately appears to have been suffering from a host of personal demons and family troubles.
For the very latest, let`s go straight out to investigative reporter Nicole Partin, who is outside the Benoit mansion in the suburbs of Atlanta. Nicole, what is the very latest?
NICOLE PARTIN, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Good evening, Jane. Here`s what we know. Yet again, another raid has taken place on Mr. Benoit`s doctor`s office. We also know that shortly after that, authorities went to his mother`s home. This is the doctor`s mother, where, apparently, the doctor was living. They are looking for more medical records.
And another big question that`s still unanswered. When Mr. Benoit visited the doctor`s office on Friday, just before the first murder, was he prescribed any medication? That`s what authorities are trying to find out, and we believe that`s the reason for this raid again on the doctor`s office, and then at the doctor`s mother`s home, where he was living, as well.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, I understand funeral plans are under way, and there are going to be two separate funerals, one in Canada for Chris and the other possibly in Florida for his deceased wife and their 7-year-old son. Pretty obvious -- obviously, the tragic nature of these deaths require separate funerals.
PARTIN: Exactly. That`s what we`re learning, yes, and Mr. Benoit is being taken to Canada, where funeral arrangements are being made for him, and then his late wife and son are going to be laid to rest in Florida. Again, a lot of tension, a lot of conflict. We`re hearing Mr. Benoit loved his wife, loved his son, and yet a very tragic case of love gone bad as this double homicide-suicide.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you said it very well. Sometimes we don`t know what`s going on behind closed doors. Thank you for that.
Bret Hart, former WWE wrestler and a good friend of Chris Benoit`s, we are delighted to have you with us. Thank you for joining our program. I know it`s got to be tough for you. Is it complicated and tough grieving, given the circumstances of this tragedy? For example, two separate funeral services in two countries.
BRET HART, FORMER WWE WRESTLER: Yes, it`s -- this is a really tough one. I think -- I can see the sense in having (INAUDIBLE) Florida down in -- a funeral down in Florida just because of the difference of where the families are living. But it`s a tough time, and I think everyone is -- you know, everyone is just so crushed by this whole thing. It`s really hard for everybody to just understand it and get to the bottom of it.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And by the way, as we talk to Bret, you are looking at Bret Hart wrestling, from his WCW days on the TNT network. What was your relationship, Bret, with Chris?
HART: I knew Chris ever since he was a young kid. I knew him from the time he was maybe, I`m guessing, maybe 10 or 12. And he was a fan back then and I had just started my career, and I remember my father brought him back for me to meet him but -- because he was such -- he was a kid that wanted to be a wrestler from the time he was -- from the time he was 10 years old, I think.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, I have to ask you a question because so many people are saying, Wait, we have to hold off on the issue of steroids. We don`t have the toxicology results back. And that`s true. But others might say, just looking at somebody as muscular as Chris, you`d have to say that he appeared almost superhuman, that there would be no way for him to get that just by working out. What are your thoughts, as a colleague and a former professional wrestler?
HART: Well, you know, Chris was not the biggest guy in the world, and you know, I would guess that he probably experimented with steroids. But you know, I really didn`t know. I don`t know what his -- you know, it`s not impossible to look like Chris Benoit without steroids. But then again, I`m assuming that he probably took them, and I think the big question is, whether he was on them at this point in time. And it`s my understanding that he was tested in April and he was tested negative for steroids, so it`s a question of what he`s been on in the last few weeks, or whether -- you know, whether it`s steroids at all. Might be a lot of other combination of drugs.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You`re absolutely right.
Dr. Marty Makary, who is a physician with the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, joins us. He`s an expert on many of these issues. The big question, of course, when the toxicology results are going to come out. Sometimes it seems like we`re waiting forever in these big cases when it`s really crucial information, and we`re speculating until we know.
DR. MARTY MAKARY, JOHNS HOPKINS SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: Well, there`s a good chance the toxicology results are going to show nothing. Steroids are short-acting. Your body naturally produces steroids. And unless somebody was on steroids for a very prolonged period of time, to the point it shuts down your body`s own internal production system and your own adrenal gland, we may not find out the answer.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, I`ve heard that sometimes when you go off steroids, the rage and the depression can remain. So you just heard Bret Hart saying, Well, the question is, was he on steroids at this time? But couldn`t he have suffered the aftereffects of steroids even after having gone off them?
MAKARY: You`re exactly right, Jane. When you come off steroids, it`s a high-risk period, even higher risk than when you`re on them because when you come off steroids, you have severe depression. It`s a known risk factor for suicide, and people have fatigue and mood swings.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And let`s remind our viewers that anabolic steroids were found inside the home of Chris Benoit, and Benoit`s father said today he`s very anxious to learn the results. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our Atlanta affiliate, WSB, saying that authorities are now raiding the office of Chris Benoit`s doctor for a second time, in addition to a raid on the home of Dr. Phil Astin`s mother, which is apparently where is he living. Now, you may recall Astin`s name was on prescriptions of anabolic steroids and narcotics which were found in the wrestler`s home.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chris Benoit last spoke to his father on Father`s Day, June 17, less than a week before the star wrestler carried out the murders of his wife and son before taking his own life in his Fayette County home. Michael Benoit told me he is at a complete loss trying to grasp what may have led up to the murders and suicide of his beloved son.
MICHAEL BENOIT, CHRIS BENOIT`S FATHER: We don`t know what happened. It`s a very tragic event that we don`t understand that we`re all -- families on both sides are trying to deal with.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Former prosecutor Wendy Murphy, who is a victims` rights attorney, what do you make of the fact, Wendy, that authorities are going back again to this doctor`s office, really putting on the laser beam to find out what is going on there? What does that tell you?
WENDY MURPHY, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Well, Jane, I think it suggests at least one thing, that the first time around, after the first search warrant, when they took his computer and found some other materials and then had the chance to look at that information, they developed even more reason to dig further and to look, frankly, at different information.
You know, this is very private stuff -- a doctor`s office, private medical files, computer files, medical records -- and it`s almost uniform across the country in virtually any state, if you want to go deeper into somebody`s private files, sometimes you have to get new search warrants, new justification. And you do that by taking a first layer (ph) look, seeing what`s there and going back in. So there`s no question they found something that gave them cause to go back in again. That`s not good news for this doctor.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wendy, I know these are very different cases, but do you see any similarities or commonalities with the Anna Nicole Smith case in terms of drugs being found at the death scene and a doctor who`s also kind of a friend, and -- you take it away.
MURPHY: Yes. Yes. And you know, celebrity people having apparently strange access to doctors willing to do strange things, yes.
And frankly, you took the words right out of my mouth. What I want to know is, why didn`t anybody knock down with a battering ram Anna Nicole`s real doctor, who was doling out large vats of stuff that ultimately took her life?
You know, the important thing to remember here, Jane, and you know this, is that it`s so easy to get drugs off the Internet from foreign countries. You know, we used to have a society where you had to go to a doctor and get a prescription that was highly regulated and hard to really kill yourself, or for that matter, take enough drugs to want to kill other people. It was hard to do that before the Internet.
These days, it`s so easy that you would think in any case where somebody dies apparently connected to abuse of drugs, the first thing law enforcement would do is knock down the door of the doctor, as they did here, and good for them. What I want to know is, Why didn`t that happen in Anna Nicole`s case?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to go back to Bret Hart, former WWE wrestler and a good friend of Chris Benoit`s. And as we speak, we may very well roll and scroll down on a list of many, many professional wrestlers who have died prematurely in their 20s, 30s and 40s. If it turns out -- and it`s a big if. The toxicology reports are not back. But if it turns out that Chris Benoit had steroids in his system, what should be the fallout for the WWE? What needs to be done? Because people are saying this is a crisis.
HART: You know, I don`t know. I`m confident, at this point, that you`re going to find that the WWE is going to back up what they`ve said. But if that wasn`t the case, I would be -- I`d be really surprised and...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: What do you mean back up? I`m just not clear on what you`re saying.
HART: Well, I think they`ve had a really strong drug testing policy in place since Eddie Guerrero died about a year-and-a-half, two years ago, and it`s been a really strict test, as far as I know. I`ve talked to wrestlers that have had to, you know, refrain from steroids. And the steroids are not popular anymore in the WWE. It`s my understanding they`ve kind of blocked them out.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me ask you this, because it may be a strict test, but are the punishments strict? And I think that`s the key. I was told that it was first test that`s positive, suspension without pay for 30 days. Second positive test, suspension without pay for 60 days and possible rehab. And then the third strike, you are out. But is that that punitive, that would stop somebody who is desperate to break in or desperate to stay on top?
HART: I think so. I mean, in the wrestling world, it`s not that easy for a wrestler to go without being paid. They all -- it`s really important to, like, everybody`s job to have that steady income coming in. They all got mortgage payments and bills, like everyone else. And being in rehab is expensive. I think a lot of these costs sometimes are taken right out of your check later on. So it`s, like -- it`s really -- in the end, you have to comply with whatever the rules are.
I know the WWE back in the early `90s had very strict drug testing, that as far as I know, I followed and all the wrestlers that I was around followed and was strict, and I think it was a successful testing process.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, there`s obviously a problem somewhere. There`s a crisis somewhere, when you`re scrolling down that many names of people who have died prematurely. I remember I did a story on professional wrestling, a three-part series, and I never got anybody to admit through the course of several days that professional wrestling is even staged. So it`s hard to say that everybody`s going to be forthright about an issue that`s so much more controversial than that, an issue of steroids. What do you say to that?
HART: Well, I think -- you know, in this case, I think -- you know, I don`t think you need steroids in wrestling, and that`s what they`ve been saying. So I`m kind of hoping that that`s all backed up and turns out to be the case. I think, from my understanding, everyone in the wrestling world, probably including Vince McMahon -- everyone wants to know what happened here and how it all went wrong. And I think we`re as anxious to learn what happened and whether it was medications leading into this, maybe it was building up for months.
I`m hearing mixed rumors from people I know that Chris was fine right up until the day that this happened, and then I`m starting to hear other stories that he was, you know, quite emotional the last few months and that maybe something was really troubling him. So I`m not quite sure. But I hope, you know, the authorities are on top of this and that they dig hard and get right to the bottom of it. It would probably serve everybody well to know exactly what really happened, or at least as close to the truth as we possibly can.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I absolute agree with you there.
The phone lines lighting up. Christina from Alabama, your question?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, ma`am. I was -- hello?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Hi. Go ahead.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, OK. I`m sorry. I was wanting to know if there`s going to be charges filed against his doctor, and if so, what charges would be filed, manslaughter or anything?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, excellent question. Paul Batista, defense attorney and author of "Death`s Witness," could they file charges against him of criminal nature, or would it be more likely that a medical board would get on his case?
PAUL BATISTA, AUTHOR, "DEATH`S WITNESS": Well, it`s more likely that a medical board would be on his case. But you know, at this point, Jane, let`s not -- I hate to use this expression -- rush to judgment. This is a doctor. As far as we know, he`s had no criminal experience in the past. And there`s no reason to assume that he was illegally prescribing anything to Chris Benoit or that he was running a pill factory for distribution through the United States.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: But there were steroids in his home, and he visited that doctor the day before all this started, the actual afternoon that it began.
BATISTA: Jane, there`s nothing -- there`s nothing criminal about a doctor having steroids or any other prescription medication available to him or her in his office or at her home. There`s nothing inherently illegal about that.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you know...
BATISTA: Any viewer will understand that you sometimes get legitimate drugs from your doctor.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, but sometimes they`re used for illegitimate purposes.
And when we come back, we`re going to try to sort that out, find out when it`s legal to take steroids or sell them and when it`s not.
To tonight`s "Case Alert." A $10,000 reward in the search for who killed a young Raleigh mom eight months pregnant, expecting a third child, 22-year-old Jenna Nielsen found dead behind a convenience store June 14, Nielsen on her daily route delivering newspapers for extra money to help out her family. Police also searching for a person of interest in the investigation. If you have any information, please call Crimestoppers, 919-226-CRIME.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Say it over and over again, help. Anybody who knows anything, anybody who`s seen anything, it doesn`t matter if it`s the littlest, teeniest, tiniest, tiniest bit of information. Those have been known to break cases. And that`s what we need right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In a business like pro wrestling, where physique is so important, steroids play an important role in that physique. So therefore, as a result of extra steroids and extra testosterone being pumped into your body, you do experience moments of rage, uncontrollable rage. I mean, you know that it`s a possibility. You can feel it coming on, but there`s nothing you can do about it. And the next thing you know, an argument, a minor argument has gone into a full-fledged rage. where you got your hands around somebody`s neck.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell, in tonight for Nancy Grace. As the world wonders about the horror discovered inside a mansion in the suburbs of Atlanta, where pro wrestler Chris Benoit is believed to have killed his wife and son before killing himself, we`re talking about whether or not there`s been this rush to judgment vis-a-vis steroids and the legality and illegality of steroids.
I think, Dr. Marty Makary, a lot of people are extremely confused about this. When do steroids become illegal? And is it illegal to take them or to sell them or prescribe them, or all three?
MAKARY: Well, certainly, it`s bad practice to prescribe steroids without an indication, and a medical indication is not wanting to be stronger for an athletic sport. We have a lot of patients -- every doctor has seen a lot of patients come to the office looking for steroids in order to make them stronger for sports, and doctors need to say no, and doctors do say no.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: But apparently, you can sort of buy these drugs -- and I`m including human growth hormone -- over the Internet. In fact, he had allegedly gotten packages from a Florida business that markets steroids and human growth hormone.
MAKARY: You know, Jane, the vast majority of doctors in the United States take the privilege society has given to us prescribe substances that alter your physiology or behavior very seriously, so it`s very disturbing for us to hear that there are these outside sources.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you know, the phone lines are lighting up. Jennifer in Mississippi, your question?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, ma`am. My question was about the fragile X syndrome that the son had. You said it was genetic, or hereditary. Do they know if it came from him or his wife, and if that could have possibly been a trigger?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, that`s a great question. Dr. Makary, can you address that? Do you think that he inherited it from his dad?
MAKARY: It`s more likely to come from the mother because the mother has two X chromosomes and the father has one, although its hard to say. There are a few places in the human genome where we`ve been able to correlate mental retardation or mental impairment of some kind, and the end of the X chromosome is one of them. We call that fragile X syndrome.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And it also causes some sort of physical deformation or at least slow growth? Is that possible?
MAKARY: About 10 to 15 percent of patients will have some sort of physical abnormality -- a long face, prominent chin, a long forehead. But for the most part, people just have a learning disability or some form of mild mental retardation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chris loved his children. I`m not just saying he loved his children, he loved his children, all three of them, talked about them constantly, would go out of his way to go home even just for a few hours to see his son, to see Daniel for sure. This is the type of father he was and this is the type of guy he was. And that`s why it`s such a crazy -- you can`t comprehend it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell, in for Nancy Grace. It`s been a week since pro wrestler Chris Benoit is believed to have murdered his wife and child, a case that has shocked the nation. Earlier last Friday, hours before the nightmare began unfolding, Benoit visited his personal doctor. The doctor`s office has now been searched twice, and we could learn more about what they found there. The big question, of course, was Benoit on steroids that fueled a `roid rage? And if so, what should be done to stop the abuse of steroids?
We`re very delighted to have with us Irvin Muchnick, who is the author of "Wrestling Babylon." What do you know about the dark side of wrestling vis-a-vis steroids?
IRVIN MUCHNICK, AUTHOR, "WRESTLING BABYLON": Well, I know a lot about the dark side of wrestling because my book documents about 87 wrestlers who have died over the last generation from various causes, including drugs that relate to the pro wrestling lifestyle. And I`m told that that`s the tip of the iceberg. in fact, Chris Benoit is death number four among prominent wrestlers since my book went to the printer last December.
Now, first Jane, you might be interested in a couple of insights into the doctor`s raid today. As far as the second raid is concerned, it might have something to do with Dr. Astin`s other clients. Secondly, as far as what Chris Benoit got from the doctor on Friday, I understand from reading the new edition of "The Wrestling Observer" newsletter...
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As for reports of anabolic steroids being found inside Chris Benoit`s home and speculation into possible motives...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At this point in time, there`s a lot of stories that we read in the paper that we know that a lot of the information there has been fabricated, but I really don`t choose to comment. The message that I`d like to get out at this time is that we`re praying desperately that Nancy`s family is able to cope with this situation, this very difficult situation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell in tonight for Nancy Grace. We are talking about the tragic deaths of pro wrestler Chris Benoit, his wife, and young son in an apparent double murder-suicide. The horror began unfolding a week ago and went through last weekend, until the bodies were discovered on Monday.
Many questions remain unanswered. The most fundamental being: Why? Which we`re going to get into in-depth in a moment. But first, let`s go out to investigative reporter Nicole Partin, who is outside the mansion of the Benoit family as we speak.
What has the activity been like today there? Hey, Nicole, can you hear me? What`s going on outside the mansion or at the mansion today?
All right, we`re going to go back to her. Let`s go straight to the, why? Let`s try to find out why this horror happened that has devastated so many families and so many fans. Bret Hart, former WWE wrestler and friend of Chris Benoit, what about -- we`ve been talking so much about steroids, which we don`t have the toxicology test results back, but what about the stress of just being a professional wrestler? You know, from the outside, it looks so glamorous, these guys look so good. They`re so strong. So many men envy them and women desire them, but yet, behind the scenes, it`s very stressful, I understand. Tell us about it.
BRET HART, FORMER WWE WRESTLER: Well, the wrestling life can be a really tough life. It`s a very physically demanding kind of life, and it can be at times a very lonely existence out there. You travel the highways, and you`re always in an airplane, and a lot of times your only friends are the wrestlers.
But, you know, I think the life of a wrestler is hard, but I find, if I was looking at this case, I`d be looking at the younger guy and for the younger wrestlers, and the people that are just starting out, it`s much harder. But Chris was somebody that was already on the other side of it. He`d been a successful wrestler. He`d had some great years in the WWE. His family was provided for, I`m sure.
He was really a guy that was on top of the world, so a lot of the real negative side, like the hard work that you need to do as a wrestler, he`d already made those -- he`d already made all the sacrifices to be where he was, so it`s hard to understand where he was coming from when this happened.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: While we`re talking, we are looking at video of you, Bret Hart, wrestling from the WCW days on the TNT network, and you`re an amazing performer yourself, and, again, thank you for being so honest and joining us to discuss these issues. But, you know, you say he was on top. It`s hard to remain on top forever, in any business, particularly a business that is as youth-oriented and as physical as this one.
What about the physical toll? I understand that his neck was literally broken several years ago and that put him out of commission for a year. Was there a sense that time was running out for him, given that he has turned 40?
HART: I wouldn`t think so. I mean, I think, you know, he was -- the last few times I saw Chris physically, he looked like he was as good, you know, still had a lot of good years left in him. But I will say, the very last time I watched Chris wrestle, which is only a few weeks ago, I made a mental note in my head when I was watching him work that he didn`t seem to have that light in his eyes. He didn`t have the passion in the match that I was watching.
And at the time, I thought I would call him, because I usually see Chris when he comes through Calgary in the summertime when they have the show up here, but I never did get to the bottom of that, and whether he was happy there, you know. Sometimes, you know, you can only be on top for so long. I don`t know if that was the case with Chris. I mean, I`m assuming that he was still very talented and had had lots of time off, and...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, we want to get back to you in a second, but this is such a controversial subject, the phone lines are lighting up. Samantha from West Virginia, your question?
CALLER: Yes, ma`am. I just had -- I was wondering if there`s any previous history of family violence in the Benoit home?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: There actually allegedly is, at least according to the late Nancy, who filed for divorce in 2003, and sought a protection order, but let`s go to Wendy Murphy about that, former prosecutor and victims rights attorney. Generally, whenever you`ve taken out a protection order against someone, it is a danger signal, is it not?
WENDY MURPHY, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Yes, I mean, it`s a legal requirement. You have to prove that you`re at risk of being injured. Usually it`s because you`ve been injured already and there have been threats made or there`s some reason to fear, and so you go to court to get a protective order, because you are really worried about it happening again.
This is a woman who, like so many battered women, though, backed down, you know, retracted the restraining order, and stayed married to the guy, and that doesn`t mean she was wrong. You know, women sometimes feel like failures when they don`t stick to it, but they shouldn`t feel that way.
And, frankly, and this is going to sound a little strange, Jane, because I really do care about victims more than anything, but the fact that he had trouble, in terms of domestic violence in the past, does not mean that`s the reason he took the lives of his wife and son this time around. It really could have been the drugs trumped everything that might have been violent about him in the past. You know what? I got a soft spot for this guy, because the way I look at...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You have a soft spot?
MURPHY: I do. Let me tell you why.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You`re a prosecutor.
MURPHY: I know. I`ve got a soft spot, because I think these guys are exploited, not unlike the way I complain that women like Anna Nicole Smith are exploited. Look, they`re pumped up. They`re used. They`re battered. They`re tossed around, and then they`re spat out. You know, where are they dumped when they age out of the right physicality and so forth?
This is the ultimate exploitation of men, to cause them so much grief and harm, physical abuse of their bodies, with the promotion of the use of these drugs to make them look like beefy guys. It`s so unfair to them, and I think it can cause depression and rage. Forget the steroids for a minute. This exploitation of men is probably a bigger problem than anyone is willing to admit.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s so funny, because we usually talk about the exploitation of women. Let`s go to Dr. Susan Lipkins, psychologist and author of "Preventing Hazing," we have been looking at this video of the horrific slams and body slams that these guys have to endure day after day, year after year. And anybody who has not been able to jog past their 40s can relate to somebody who may be not able to just keep this going. What kind of stress does that put on a man who`s been a star, and is trying to stay on top, and is trying to cut back on his days to help his family, as well?
DR. SUSAN LIPKINS, PSYCHOLOGIST: Well, I think it`s obviously very strong, and I think the whole lifestyle is stressful, but something else was happening here. You know, he must have had a feeling of depression, that there was no way out and no exit. He was hopeless. He was helpless.
And for a fighter and somebody like this, who was able to fight his way out of everything, up until now, that is a strong statement. He felt that there was no other choice, I believe, and it was probably a combination of drugs and depression, and who knows what the stress was on Friday that made him pop?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you know, as we like to look for simple solutions and one answer to why somebody kills somebody or commits suicide, it`s usually multi-determined, which is a fancy way of saying there are a lot of reasons. So I completely agree with you, Doctor.
Paul Batista, your knowledge of the human condition as a noted defense attorney, I mean, let`s take a look at some of the other circumstances here, the fact that this wrestler was in his 40s, his wife was ill. She had had a neck injury. His son had a physical and mental disability. Look, even in this photo, even in this publicity photo he appears to have a black eye.
So the toll that this was taking, he apparently did cut his days back from 250 touring days a year to 118. And his wife was demanding more, and he may have felt, "I can`t stay in this business," and cut back any more. It`s going to put me out of business.
PAUL BATISTA, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes, this is clearly a young man -- 40 is young -- who is under a lot of stress, famous, at the top of his game in many ways, yet with a son whose physical condition was not great. Fragile X is not a good condition to be in. He was obviously taking time, Chris Benoit, away from those things that had made him famous, those things that made him most effective, turned to his family. He was obviously using steroids. There`s no question about that. The legality is a different issue, and that is certainly an explosive mix of emotional and pharmacological problems that this young man was trying to deal with it.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I think we have to jump in here. You said there`s no question. There is a question. We really do have to wait for the toxicology reports, because there`s a lot of people at the WWE who are like, "No steroids," and they`re all upset. So I think we have to err on the side of caution, but you`re right. I mean, it appears that he has a history of having used steroids in the past possibly, because the doctor was prescribing him for low testosterone levels, which is an indication of possible steroid use, so we`ll come right back. We`re going to stay on the why, why did this happen?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The memorial outside the Benoit family home continues to grow, as more fans come by wanting to pay their respects, but also seeking answers to their questions, especially what caused this tragedy, and could it have been avoided?
Chris Benoit worked out here at his Peachtree City gym, just a day before investigators say he murdered his wife, Nancy. Sources say the gym has surveillance video of Benoit inside doing his usually workout and socializing with other people. Fayette County investigators say they are aware of this video and could be interested in it, if for nothing else to observe Benoit`s state of mind.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell in tonight for Nancy Grace. What went so horribly wrong in the world of pro wrestling champ Chris Benoit that authorities believe he killed his wife and son and then himself? Was it `roid rage? Was he even taking steroids? Or did he feel like the world was just coming down, coming in on him, as he got older in a very tough profession, also grappling with a disabled son and a physically ill wife?
So many causes, we are going to go right now to the very patient, to Detective Lieutenant Steve Rogers of the Nutley New Jersey Police Department.
Thank you for being so patient, sir. Listen, there are so many e- mails coming into the NANCY GRACE show from people, fans of Benoit`s, who simply state, "This can`t be true." This has to be some kind of triple murder. There`s going to be some other bad guy out there who really did this. Do authorities have to keep their options open, or can they just conclude what they appear to be concluding?
DET. LT. STEVE ROGERS, NUTLEY POLICE DEPARTMENT: Jane, the options are wide open. The police will think out of the box. They`re going to be looking into the very -- was this really a suicide-murder, I`m sorry, murder-suicide? Or was this, in fact, a triple homicide? There are a lot of elements to this case that may lead to that theory of a triple homicide. And until they put all of the pieces of this puzzle together, no one can draw a conclusion as to what really happened at that crime scene.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, perhaps a lot of the suspension stems from this extremely bizarre entry that went onto Wikipedia, Nicole Partin, investigative reporter, about 13 hours before the bodies were discovered. There`s a lot of new information about that; tell us what the latest is.
NICOLE PARTIN, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Right, apparently this anonymous person posted this on Wikipedia, stating that the reason Mr. Benoit did not show up for an appearance on Sunday evening was because his wife was dead, as you said, 13 hours before the body was found. Since then, this anonymous person has posted a statement saying they apologized, they had absolutely no idea that, in fact, the wife was dead, had been murdered, that this was just posted based on rumors and speculations that this person had read off the internet, and says that it is just a horrific coincidence that the statement was posted.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: What a coincidence that you`re kind of guessing or pretending that somebody`s died, and then it turns out that somebody has, in fact, been found dead. And I`m sure that authorities are investigating that one.
Bret Hart, former WWE wrestler and a good friend of Chris Benoit`s, I want to ask you about the canceled appearances that he was sending text messages about. The sense I got -- and it was just my gut feeling -- was that it was so horrific for him to cancel these appearances, that to even say no to one appearance feels like the end of the world. Do you think there might have been any correlation between them arguing, which apparently he and his wife were arguing over him cutting back his schedule, and then apparently she dies, and then he fails to show up over the weekend for these appearances? Do you see anything there brewing?
HART: Yes, I do. I think you might find something there. He may have been in a tug-of-war where he was trying to hold onto his position, and maybe stay at the very top of wrestling, and there may have been pressure on him to, you know, be more available to longer tours on the road, and to be more of a primetime player sort of thing on the circuit.
And at the same time, his wife might have been pulling him the other direction and saying -- you know, because I can only imagine the difficulties in raising a child that has autism. And I`m sure it must be a real workload. And she may have been overwhelmed by all that and needed Chris`s help, and maybe through just, you know, the way they fought over it, maybe that was the trigger to all of this. Who knows?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, and I want to go back to Irvin Muchnick, author of "Wrestling Babylon," because there`s some debate over whether or not he had recently been demoted or faced the prospect of demotion. And correct me if I`m wrong, this is a very inside baseball kind of thing, that he went apparently from "Raw" to "Smackdown" to "ECW," and his friend, Chris Jericho, said, no, he wasn`t demoted, but then others are saying, yes, perhaps it was a demotion. What do you say?
IRVIN MUCHNICK, AUTHOR OF "WRESTLING BABYLON": No, it definitely is not a demotion, although he was in a paranoid state where he may have felt that it was a demotion. In fact, he was getting a -- he had a job for life in the WWE. He was so well-regarded. When he was sent to "ECW," he was slated to win the "ECW" championship and to be sort of a player-coach to help develop some of the other wrestlers. That`s how highly regarded he was.
You know, Jane, watching Bret Hart, who I have tremendous respect for, one of the great wrestlers of all-time, I have to disagree with him a little bit about the steroid thing.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Go for it. Just cut to the chase.
MUCHNICK: Well, you know, he`s kind of a zeolig (ph) of death and wrestling. I mean, he lost his brother, Owen, not from steroids. He lost a brother-in-law, Davey Boy Smith, yes, from steroids, and he`s lost many friends. And Chris Benoit was like a brother. And I think to say that wrestling is getting rid of steroids or in any way, shape or form that`s meaningful is just incorrect, and it`s a measure of how protective he and all wrestlers are of the wrestling business, and maybe it`s a measure of his love of wrestling, because we know he has no love for Vince McMahon.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Do you want to respond to that?
HART: No, that`s not true. You know, I don`t think there`s any place for steroids in wrestling. And if steroids are somehow at the bottom of all this, I`d be the first one -- I`d like to know. I`d like to see it, and I`d like to see it proved. I mean, I just know a lot of people that have taken steroids over the years, and people take steroids all around the world, in some of these European countries steroids are quite normal. And you don`t see a lot of this kind of violent -- this is not a normal...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, wait a second. I have to jump in here, Bret. Bret, there`s been a clear correlation made between steroid use and abuse and violence, and there`s a term for it, `roid rage, and there have been studies on this. I mean, you can`t say, oh, there`s no connection.
HART: No, I know about `roid rage and all that, but I don`t think to this extreme. If that`s the case, to go to this extreme, I think there`s probably a lot more to it than just steroids. It might be a combination of a bunch of pills, but I don`t think you can lay this at steroids. In the end, you`re not going to be able to, I don`t think.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell in for Nancy Grace. What a week in America`s courtrooms. Take a look at the stories and, more important, the people who touched all of our lives.
NANCY GRACE, CNN HOST: I`m just trying to imagine killing -- maybe in a fit of rage, I don`t know -- killing your loved one, the mother of your child, who`s two weeks away from giving birth to baby Chloe.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... reported over the weekend on Ohio.com that he said, "Mommy was put on couch, and Mommy go to sleep."
GRACE: Oh, oh, oh.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The more we`re learning about Bobby Cutts, Nancy, the more despicable he looks. Here`s what we have found. The personal Web site that you referenced was created...
GRACE: Oh, you mean the one of him wearing nothing but a towel?
Who killed 22-year-old Jenna Nielsen? She was out trying to make extra money for the family at eight months pregnant.
Joining us tonight is Bret "Hitman" Hart.
HART: Yes, I don`t think anyone saw this coming. I really don`t.
GRACE: Everyone, joining us tonight is a name I know you know very well, it is Chris Jericho, world-famous wrestling star.
CHRIS JERICHO, PRO WRESTLER: He loved his children. This is the type of father he was, and this is the type of guy he was, and that`s why it`s such a crazy -- you can`t comprehend it. That`s what the problem is. Was it steroids? Maybe.
GRACE: Again, I want to thank you for sharing tonight`s story and my life here. Those photos I promised, there I am, with my great- grandmother`s Bible, coming down the aisle. That was my groom earlier, David, and there we are again. This is before we dug into a homemade wedding cake.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, let`s stop to remember Air Force Tech Sergeant Ryan Balmer, 33 years old, from Mishawaka, Indiana, killed in Iraq. A special investigations detective in Iraq, Balmer was an on an extended tour of duty, receiving multiple awards. The youngest of nine children, Balmer leaves behind a large family, including grieving widow Danielle, two sons, Joshua and Anthony, and 1-year-old daughter, Gabby. Ryan Balmer, an American hero.
We want to thank all of our guests tonight for their insights, and thanks to you at home for tracking these very important cases with us. I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell in for Nancy Grace. We hope to see you right here tomorrow night, 8:00 sharp Eastern. Until then, have a wonderful and a safe evening.