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Awaiting Mark Lunford's Testimony at Couey Hearing; Benoit Toxicology Report; Al Qaeda Almost Ready to Attack?

Aired July 17, 2007 - 14:00   ET


T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Did steroids make him do it? From the moment news broke of the double murder-suicide of a pro wrestler and his young family, that has been the question. This hour, we find out what was in Chris Benoit's bloodstream and possibly, for that matter, what was in his mind.
KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Also happening right now, a confrontation almost two-and-a-half years in the making. Jessica Lunsford's father preparing to tell the man who brutalized and buried his daughter alive why he should be put to death.

Hello, everyone. I'm Kyra Phillips at the CNN Center in Atlanta.

HOLMES: And I'm T.J. Holmes, sitting in today for Don Lemon.

And you are in the CNN NEWSROOM.

This is the man who kidnapped, raped and murdered 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford more than two years ago. Today, he's about to face his victim's father.

A pre-sentencing hearing under way this hour in Florida for John Couey. For him it is literally a matter of life or death. For Mark Lunsford, it's the opportunity he has been waiting some time for.

Our John Zarrella is watching it all for us from Miami.

Hello, John.


Well, yes, this hearing has been in the making now since John Couey was convicted in March by a jury, and that jury in attendant to recommendation, recommending the death penalty for John Couey. This is part of the sentencing process now.

This hearing today -- and what we are seeing right now on the witness stand, a psychologist testifying for the state, and that psychologist saying that his determination of the tests that he has given to John Couey is that John Couey is competent, that he is not "mentally retarded". In fact, that John Couey, in this psychologist's estimation, has an IQ of 80 to 90. John Couey's defense is trying to argue that he is mentally incompetent, that he is mentally retarded, and that he should not face the death penalty.

Now, again, the jury recommended death as part of these proceedings. The judge, who by Florida law has to weigh heavily what the jury recommended, will have to decide, probably not at this hearing, probably at another hearing in August, whether Couey will live or die.

Now, Mark Lunsford, Jessica's father, will have an opportunity at some point later this afternoon, when all of this is out of the way, to go ahead and address the court, and also to address his feelings as to why he believes that John Evander Couey should die for that brutal abduction, rape and murder of his daughter, Jessica Lunsford -- T.J.

HOLMES: All right. John Zarrella keeping an eye on things for us in Miami.

John, thank you.

And to let folks know, we are keeping an eye on that hearing. Right now, as John said, a psychologist testifying on the stand right now for the state, as we look again at a live picture there of Couey in court right now.

When we do see Mark Lunsford, certainly step up again to address his daughter's killer, we certainly will take that live. But we are monitoring this, so stay here for the latest.

PHILLIPS: Almost a month after the Chris Benoit double murder- suicide, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation is releasing its toxicology report on Benoit in just about half an hour.

CNN's Rusty Dornin joins us from GBI headquarters in Decatur, Georgia.

Rusty, what do we hope to find out today?

RUSTY DORNIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kyra, there's about a dozen news crews here. Of course, this news is highly anticipated because it might answer some of the questions in the mystery surrounding the death of Chris Benoit, of course, the murder of his wife Nancy and their son, Daniel. It will be the release of the toxicology and blood-alcohol test. And hopefully, we will find out whether steroids played a part in this.

Now, of course many people have speculated that some kind of roid rage had to do with these murders. Well, there are domestic violence experts who say steroids probably had nothing to do with this, this looks like something that was pre-planned, premeditated, and he went about it with very cold, calculated planning.

We do know that several prescription bottles were discovered, of course, in the house, and they did say there were anabolic steroids. Of course, Chris Benoit's doctor, Phil Astin, was arrested by federal authorities, he was charged with over-medicating or over-prescribing medications to other patients. But he has admitted to The Associated Press of prescribing testosterone to Benoit, and Benoit was in his office on June 22nd, that day. And that night is when authorities do believe that Benoit killed his wife, Nancy, and then killed his son the following day. So, hopefully, again, we will have some answers, perhaps not, though. Perhaps if there were not a high level of steroids in his system, there will be still more questions as to why Chris Benoit would kill his wife and son -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: All right, Rusty. We're expecting that live news conference, once again, in about 20 minutes. We'll go there live when it happens.

Thanks, Rusty.

Well, police in Wyoming found their first sign of sniper suspect David Munis two days after his wife Robin was killed while she sang in a restaurant. A tip led officers to David Munis' truck late last night. It was parked at Rogers Canyon, a remote area just outside Laramie.

Police believe that Munis, who is a trained soldier and outdoorsman, is hiding out in the wilderness right now. Robin Munis was shot once in the head at long rage early Saturday, hours after police told her husband to stop harassing her with phone calls.

Now, earlier, criminal profiler Pat Brown joined CNN's "AMERICAN MORNING". She talked about the difficulties that women face when threatened by an estranged spouse.


PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER: The only way you can absolutely be sure they can't get to you would be to literally go into hiding so they can't find you. That's one major method.

Another thing I recommend to some women -- of course people think it's pretty extreme, but if I had somebody after me, it's one thing you can do -- is in your own home, you can have an alarm system. But that's not enough. You need to have a bolt on your bedroom door, because a lot of people can bypass the alarm system. So you have to have a bolt on your bedroom door so when they get there, they have to bust the thing down, kick it in, and while they're doing that, you grab your gun from the table and just shoot at them.

I mean, that's about the only protection you have. But then, hey, there's one more problem. What do you do when you leave your house? Because once you leave your house, you have to get in your car, you have to go to places of work, or perhaps the courthouse, where a lot of husbands are waiting to shoot you down.

You really don't have a lot of protection.


PHILLIPS: Pat Brown laying it out right there.

David Munis is a member of the Wyoming National Guard and a graduate of the Army's elite Sniper School. Police believe that he has at least two guns with him, and they're using helicopters and dogs to search for him at this hour.

HOLMES: Al Qaeda regrouping, rebuilding, and maybe ready to attack the U.S. again. Stark conclusions from the national intelligence estimate. It's a sweeping report from the nation's 16 spy agencies. And now there is a public version that's out there.

We want to take a closer look at that with CNN Justice Correspondent Kelli Arena.

Hello there, Kelli.


You know, the report lays it out very simply. Al Qaeda remains the biggest threat to the United States, and it has rebuilt itself, increasing its capabilities to attack on U.S. soil once again.

Now, intelligence officials say that the big reason for that is that al Qaeda has established what they call a safe haven in the tribal areas of Pakistan. They say that they believe both Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, al Qaeda's number two, are right in that area, that they are providing strategic direction for the organization, and that there have been several new lieutenants that have been promoted, put in place.

The report also says that al Qaeda central is very likely to leverage its relationship with Al Qaeda in Iraq.

Listen to this.


MIKE MCCONNELL, DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: They are engaged day to day. They're battle-hardened. They have lots of experience. They know how to build explosives that can be incredibly destructive. And Al Qaeda in Iraq helps al Qaeda leadership in Pakistan energize a broader extremist community, raise resources, and recruit and indoctrinate operatives.


ARENA: Now, of course the key to hitting the U.S. is to actually get people inside the United States, and that's what al Qaeda is trying to do. They're trying to get people inside the United States. But the FBI says, the good news here, it hasn't found any cells in the U.S. yet.

Intelligence officials say if al Qaeda does hit the United States, it's probably going to hit a very high-profile target where it's likely to kill a lot of people, have a negative impact on the economy -- T.J.

HOLMES: Well, Kelli, you just hit on the good news there -- no cells possibly in the United States.

ARENA: Right. HOLMES: But a lot of this sounds pretty grim.

Is there any other good news that you pulled out of this?

ARENA: You know, there wasn't a whole lot, but, well, one, al Qaeda does not have any weapons of mass destruction, chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons yet, although they are trying to get their hands on them. And it says that there is a perception amongst terrorist organizations that because of all the counterterrorism measures, that the U.S. is a harder target to hit. So we have made some inroads.

And lastly, that al Qaeda has not regained the strength that it had, you know, pre-9/11. That it is stronger, that it is regrouping, but that it's not there yet.

HOLMES: All right. There are some upsides.

Kelli Arena, appreciate you showing the good, the bad and the ugly for us.

Kelli Arena, thank you so much.

PHILLIPS: Well, does this mean the Bush administration's war on terror has been a losing battle?

Let's get straight to the White House and CNN's Ed Henry -- Ed.


What's interesting, the White House reaction can be downright confusing to Americans. It sounds a bit like a contradictory message.

On one hand, as Kelli was reporting, this report shows America has a heightened threat environment for the United States, but the White House today insisting over and over that it stands by the president's claim that al Qaeda is still on the run.

You also have the Homeland Security secretary, Michael Chertoff, saying he has a gut feeling that there could be a summer attack, but the White House homeland security adviser, Fran Townsend, today taking great pains to say what Mr. Chertoff has also said, that there's no specific credible threat against the United States. And then you throw into the mix the volatile issue of Iraq and whether or not the war in Iraq has made al Qaeda stronger, a point I pressed with Fran Townsend.


HENRY: The president was warned before the war that this was actually going to help al Qaeda gain influence. Now you have a report suggesting maybe it has gained influence from the war in Iraq.

Isn't that something that the president ignored?

FRANCES TOWNSEND, HOMELAND SECURITY ADVISER: You're assuming this is a zero sum game, which is what I don't understand.

The fact is we were harassing them in Afghanistan, we're harassing them in Iraq, we're harassing them in other ways, nonmilitary, around the world. And the answer is, every time you poke the hornet's nest, they are bound to come back and push back on you. That doesn't suggest to me that we shouldn't be doing it.


HENRY: So, what should viewers take away from all of this? Tony Snow, the White House spokesman, asserting today that even though this report shows al Qaeda has reconstituted itself, he asserted that al Qaeda is weaker now than it was on September 11, 2001. Weaker even, Tony Snow said, than it was a month ago because of various homeland security counterterror basically actions that the Bush administration has been taking.

But the political problem for this White House, of course, is that Osama bin Laden is still at large, al Qaeda is still strong nearly six years after the president declared he was going to get bin Laden, dead or alive -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Now, Ed, did you find that interesting, that Ms. Townsend used the word "harassing" al Qaeda? I don't think that's the military's objective is to harass terrorists, but to take them out.

HENRY: No, certainly not. I was also surprised by her use of the phrase "hornet's nest," that the war in Iraq, she likened it to kicking a hornet's nest. Well, that's what a lot of critics have said, that going in and starting the war, that that was a hornet's nest that stirred up al Qaeda even more.

In fairness to her, obviously she's trying to make the point that while that may have happened, that the U.S. is now pressing Al Qaeda in Iraq on various battlefields around the world, but the question remains, all the time, the resources the U.S. has put in, going on five years now in Iraq, has that pulled the U.S. away from the broader al Qaeda threat? It's a problem this White House is going to face throughout the rest of the president's term -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Absolutely.

Ed Henry at the White House.

Thanks, Ed.

HENRY: Thank you.




PHILLIPS: Cleveland, Youngstown and Pittsburgh, three stops on day two of John Edwards' poverty tour patterned on the 1968 presidential run of fellow Democrat Bobby Kennedy. Edwards' tour kicked off yesterday in New Orleans, where he mapped out his vision for CNN's Anderson Cooper.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): John Edwards is walking through the Lower Ninth Ward. There are not many voters here, but for him the pictures speak loudly. New Orleans is what he says his campaign is all about, a glaring symbol of presidential failure and governmental neglect.


COOPER (on camera): Infuriating?

EDWARDS: Just the idea that -- that people are still living like this and nothing's being done, when billions of dollars have been appropriated. Where is the money? Stuck in some bureaucrat's desk somewhere? I mean, where is it?

ELIZABETH EDWARDS, WIFE OF JOHN EDWARDS: So, I had this idea when we were in there. And that is, you put a FEMA trailer on the grounds of the White House, and we told the president he can live there until Winnie (ph), who is in here, gets to move back into her house.

COOPER (voice-over): We joined John and Elizabeth Edwards for the opening leg of their three day-day, eight-state tour, spotlighting his signature issue, poverty in America.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One, two and three.

COOPER: It's a political photo-op and a political risk. In these times of war and uncertainty, it's unclear the plight of the poor will resonate with voters.

Emphasizing poverty, however, sets Edwards apart from his higher- profile, better-funded opponents.

(on camera): Do you think the other Democratic candidates are doing enough to focus attention on New Orleans, on the Gulf Coast?

J. EDWARDS: I think that -- that the truth of the matter is, America is not paying enough attention, I would say.

COOPER (voice-over): Edwards insists this is not a campaign swing.

J. EDWARDS: Hey, how are you?

COOPER: There are no rallies, no cheering crowds. A small gaggle of reporters follows him from stop to stop as he struggles for traction.

How much time are you on the phone trying to actually raise money? J. EDWARDS: Almost (INAUDIBLE). Except for the fact that you're in the car now, I would be on the phone right now.

COOPER: Really?

J. EDWARDS: Yes. Oh, yes. In every car ride, every car ride.

COOPER: That's -- that's incredible.

COOPER: Edwards is used to the fundraising and the constant campaigning. He's been doing it in some form for nearly six years.

(on camera): Your campaign, you raised $9 million this quarter, down from the first quarter. You're running third in the polls. Why aren't you doing better?

J. EDWARDS: Well, I would -- I would gently argue with you about some of that. And, at least for now, I appear to be ahead in Iowa, very competitive in the early states. But that's all politics.

I think, at the end of the day, what will matter to voters in those early states, who are paying very close attention, is, are you seasoned and experienced enough to be a good candidate for president? And, secondly, for the Democrats, they want to win. So, they want to have a candidate that they know can win the general election.

COOPER (voice-over): With him much of the time, his wife, Elizabeth, a celebrity in her own right, fighting a personal and public battle with cancer. She's a top adviser and her husband's chief defender.

(on camera): How angry do you get when you read, you know, about his $400 haircut or criticism of the house you guys are building?

E. EDWARDS: If somebody hears about the haircut and focuses on that, then they're not focusing on the real issues, where he can change -- change this country. So that angers me. It angers me that, you know, that it's used as a political poking stick by our opposition.

COOPER (voice-over): On the road again, another van, another plane, off to Mississippi now, then Arkansas and Tennessee. All along the way, they're talking with small groups of working poor, far away from the states that matter, at least in the campaign game.

J. EDWARDS: I hope that America sees that what they saw in New Orleans is not just in New Orleans. It's in rural areas in the South. It's in big cities in the North. And it is still a pervasive -- poverty is still a pervasive issue in America.

COOPER: A candidate hoping to be lifted by a cause.

Anderson Cooper, CNN, New Orleans.

(END VIDEOTAPE) PHILLIPS: Once again, CNN is raising the bar in the presidential debates, and you can take part Monday, July 23rd, the Democratic candidates square off in a CNN-YouTube debate. Anderson Cooper hosts this first of its kind event, live and interactive on TV and online.

You can see the Republican candidates debate on Monday, September 17th.

And you can submit your own questions right now. Just log on to

CNN is your political headquarters.

HOLMES: Well, he's been keeping a low profile thanks to a D.C. sex scandal. But now Senator David Vitter resurfaces, and he's come back with an apology.


SEN. DAVID VITTER (R), LOUISIANA: I am completely responsible, and I'm so very, very sorry.


HOLMES: And that is Mrs. Vitter standing next to him. But is she standing by him through all this?

Stand by us after the break.



PHILLIPS: And our Rusty Dornin right here in Atlanta, Georgia, standing by with the toxicology results to be announced any moment now in the death of pro-wrestler Chris Benoit. The wrestler accused of using steroids, OD'ing on steroids, killing himself, his wife, and his son.

We're following it. We'll bring that to you live as soon as it happens.


PHILLIPS: Hello everyone, I'm Kyra Phillips live at the CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta.

HOLMES: And I'm T.J. Holmes sitting in today for Don Lemon.

Rumors of illegal steroid use have dogged pro wrestling for years, and today, a toxicology report on Chris Benoit could fuel the furor.

PHILLIPS: Was Benoit suffering from so-called roid rage when he killed his wife, his son, and himself?

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

HOLMES: And taking you to this press conference now, we're keeping an eye on waiting to hear about the toxicology reports on pro wrestler Chris Benoit. We'll go ahead and listen in.


SCOTT BALLARD, FAYETTE COUNTY, GA. DISTRICT ATTY.: ...still actively investigating that matter. As I've said before, although we look at every aspect of the case, everything still leads us to believe that this was a murder/suicide, but we're trying to make sure that we can answer questions that it would be responsible for us to consider and then answer.

The investigation has many components to it. One aspect of the investigation has to do with toxicology reports, and that's the reason that we're here today. We've been fortunate to have the assistance of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation in investigating this matter, and particularly with regard to the substances that were in the bodies that were found at the Benoit household.

As you probably know, priority is generally placed on cases where there's an actual defendant. We have cases that we have to get ready to take to court, and there's a tremendous demand upon the people at the crime lab at the GBI to get those cases ready for court.

I appreciate and want to say before all of you that the Griffin Judicial Circuit appreciates the attention that's been given to this case by the crime lab and the assistance that they've offered in trying to help us answer some of the questions that are part of this investigation.

We are not in a position to address many of the questions that some of you may have with regard to the crime scene and with regard to other aspects of this investigation. As I said, it's very much an ongoing investigation, and rather than take each individual piece of the puzzle and study it ad nauseam, we'd rather wait until we have more of the pieces so that we can be more accurate and discuss more as a whole of what happened.

So, today we're here to talk about one component, and that is the toxicology. Now, here with us today is Dr. Kris Sperry. He's the Chief Medical Examiner for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab, and I would, at this time, like to turn it over to him to address toxicology matters.

DR. KRIS SPERRY, GEORGIA CHIEF MED. EXAMINER: Good afternoon. I'm Dr. Kris Sperry, I'm the Chief Medical Examiner for the state of Georgia with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. With me is Dr. Jonathan Eisenstat (ph), who is one of our associate medical examiners, and who performed the actual autopsy examinations on the three members of the Benoit family, and along with my supervision and assistance, allowed us to come to conclusions that we will have reached and also generate the information with respect to the toxicology. I want to thank the toxicology staff of the GBI tremendously because they worked very hard and tirelessly to get this information out because, as we know, it's very important and it's very relevant. And what we want to do is to present this today so that at least these questions will be satisfied.

And as Mr. Ballard said, there's still other aspects of the investigation that will be addressed as time goes on. Specifically, with respect to Nancy Benoit, we found three different drugs in her system. The first was Hydrocodone, which is also known as Lortab or Lorcet. And this is at a level of 120 micrograms per liter.

We also found Hydromorphone, which is commonly known as Dilaudid, but it's also a breakdown product of the Hydrocodone. That is, if you take Hydrocodone, your body will break it down into the Hydromorphone, so it's our opinion that the Hydromorphone is directly from the breakdown of the Hydrocodone in her body.

And finally, we found a drug called Xanax or Alprazolam at a level of 23 micrograms per liter. Now, all of these drugs are basically at a therapeutic level. They are not toxic or inordinately elevated in her system.

Now, one thing that's also important to understand is that her body was decomposing, and the decomposition will affect the ability to interpret these drug levels reliably. Before she died, they may have been higher, they could have been lower. We just don't know, and we'll never know.

Now, additionally, we found a blood-alcohol level in Nancy Benoit of 0.184 grams per 100 milliliters, or .184 as many people would commonly know. This -- all this alcohol can clearly be due to the decompositional process. And because her body was decomposing, it is not possible to say whether any or all of the alcohol that was found in her blood at our autopsy was due to the ingestion of alcohol or the post-mortem production by bacteria, which is very well-known to occur.

In Daniel Benoit, the 7-year-old child, we found his blood to be positive for Alprazolam, or Xanax, at 110 micrograms per liter. This is relatively elevated and also Xanax is not a drug that would normally be given to a child for any, I would say, routine purposes.

Based upon this finding and the autopsy findings, it is our opinion that Daniel Benoit was sedated by Xanax at the time that he was murdered. So that he was sedated prior to the time that he died.

With Chris Benoit, we found his blood to be positive for Alprazolam or Xanax at a level of 50 micrograms per liter, and also the Hydrocodone at 45 micrograms per liter. Both of these levels are within therapeutic range, or that is they are not toxic or inordinately elevated and would be the blood level associated with normal usage of a drug like this or either one of these drugs for prescription purposes.

Now, finally, we analyzed the urine of Chris Benoit for the presence of steroids, and the only steroid drug that we found was testosterone, and this was measured at a level of 207 micrograms per liter.

Now, along with other analyses that were done in the urine, we were able to ascertain that this level of testosterone indicates that he had been using testosterone at least within some reasonably short period of time prior to the time that he died, depending on how it was that it was injected, in the form that it was used, this would produce this level in the urine. There were no other steroid or artificial steroid-like drugs that were found in his urine.

And finally, we analyzed for the presence of GHB, or Gamma hydroxybutyrate in all three of the individuals, and found no evidence of that substance in any three of the individuals.

QUESTION: Dr. Sperry, talk about how out of whack the testosterone level was in his system as compared to a normal person's?

SPERRY: All right, well, the level was elevated, and the measurement was done in the urine because this is routinely the way that steroid and testosterone-like drugs are measured in -- by looking at the urine, and especially in post-mortem samples or samples taken from individuals who are deceased, there's almost no information regarding any kind of blood levels that are ever done for drugs like this.

Frankly, the call to do so is very, very few and far between, and no one really knows exactly what happens to these hormones after someone dies. So, measuring it in the urine is at least a way, first of all, to tell whether or not drugs or drugs like this are present, and then how much is there.

All that can be told from this is that the level is elevated and the degree of elevation and the ratio of the testosterone to one of the other drugs, the breakdown product called Epitestosterone, the elevated ratio which we found to be 59, that is an indicator that he had been injecting testosterone. But how much, how frequently, how often, and for how long is something that cannot be answered through this.

QUESTION: Dr., these results here today, do they shed any light on what happened in that house and why Chris Benoit killed his family and himself?

SPERRY: No, I would not say that they do at all. The -- I'd say these results give answers as far as drug and medication usage. Now, specifically, I think they do show, as I said earlier, that Daniel Benoit was sedated at the time that he was murdered.

Beyond that, I don't think they reveal anything at all. And again, the fact that Chris Benoit had been using at least testosterone for some unknown period of time.

QUESTION: You said that as far as the Xanax in Daniel, doctors usually don't prescribe Xanax to children. This level that you found, is that toxic? What would that have done to him?

SPERRY: Well, it's elevated. It's not in, I would say in a lethal range for the most part, so he did not die of a drug overdose. And from our autopsy findings, which I'm not going to discuss today because those investigations are not finished, but there are indicators even at the autopsy that this was really not a drug overdose death. But I think the fact that the Xanax level is elevated, really puts some of it into context. As I said, I believe then, that Daniel was sedated at the time that he died.

QUESTION: How could the combination of drugs and steroids in Chris Benoit affect his behavior?

SPERRY: Oh, there's really no way to know that at all. As I said, the Xanax and the hydrocodone, are at therapeutic level for someone, say, who has chronic pain or is prescribed these drugs on a routine basis. There are people -- I know thousands of folks walking around all day out there with these kinds of levels. These are therapeutic.

In and of themselves, it really doesn't mean anything. It certainly shows that he was not at a toxic or overdosage level. Now, with respect to the testosterone, this is a question that basically no one knows the answer to. There is conflicting scientific data as to whether or not testosterone creates mental disorders or leads to outbursts of rage. There's data that suggests it, other data that refute it. Essentially, I think it's an unanswerable question.

QUESTION: Do you think the elevation of testosterone in his system might have contributed to some kind of steroid rage?

SPERRY: Well, as I said, all I can rely upon is the scientific data that's been generated and is known in the medical community to date. And what that information says, is that no one really knows. There is nothing conclusive that can be said. And beyond that, I would be speculating.

QUESTION: A range of anything above -- six and below are considered normal? SPERRY: Yes.

QUESTION: Fifty-nine we're talking about a range that is ten times what the normal range would be.


QUESTION: That in itself doesn't raise any kind of a red flag to you?

SPERRY: No. The abnormal elevation in the range is an indicator that he was injecting the testosterone. But the number or the quantity of that ratio really is irrelevant with respect to anything affecting behavior, the psychology of an individual, things like that.


SPERRY: Why? Well, because no one really knows. That's what I'm getting to. The scientific data where individuals have been given these drugs and their various levels have been monitored and analyzed, and the long and short of it is, that ratio does not -- an elevation of that ratio does not translate to something abnormal in a person's thought processes or behavior.

QUESTION: Doctor, there was a report that there was some old needle marks on Daniel's arm. Have you been able to ascertain where those needle marks came from and what drugs were injected?

SPERRY: We were not able to do that. Dr. Eisenstat found those marks, and I looked at them. They appear to have been needle marks, but because we could not get -- basically we got only a very small amount of urine from Daniel Benoit. And also, his body was just beginning to show signs of decomposition. As a consequence, we really did not have enough specimen at all to analyze for human growth hormone or any other substances.

QUESTION: Did the needle marks on his body suggest both fresh marks and healing marks long-term injection usage?

SPERRY: There was nothing that I saw that would lead me to arrive at any conclusions like that. I would say at this point in time that will never be known.

QUESTION: Do you think Mrs. Benoit also sedated before she was killed?

SPERRY: From these levels, I would say they're therapeutic for an adult in the sense that these are the -- you know, again with the understanding that the decomposition affects the reliability -- I mean, that these numbers may have been higher, may have been lower at the time that she died. We just don't know that because of the changes that the body fluids and the blood undergo with decomposition.

But looking at the levels, as I said, none of them are extremely elevated or in a toxic range, and I do know that she had -- she had had surgeries in the past, various orthopedic things, and it would not surprise me at all that she was taking these medications because of muscle spasms and pain. Given her previous surgical history, the medication levels, I have no reason to believe she was sedated.

QUESTION: Of all the tests you have run, what stands out, then, as medically significant, unusual?

SPERRY: Well, that's a broad question. I would say the most thing -- the things that are most significant to me are, number one, that there's clear evidence to me that Daniel Benoit was sedated at the time he was killed. And I think that's of significance, at least to me. That's an unusual finding.

And number two, the evidence that although testosterone was found in Christopher Benoit's urine, there was no evidence of any other of the illegal types of steroids or the whole laundry list of anabolic steroids that are out there to be used. And actually, it's -- although there's information that may exist out there regarding any medical conditions Chris Benoit may have had. The presence of the testosterone alone even could be an indicator that he was being treated for testicular insufficiency. QUESTION: Any evidence that Daniel had a medical condition?

SPERRY: That Daniel had? There's nothing that we could ascertain, anyway, that I would say there was anything out of the ordinary. Now, I know the question's been raised about the fragile leg syndrome. It's impossible to perform these types of chromosome analysis tests post mortem because you need live cells to culture and to grow, and that's something just because of the fact he's been dead for some period of time is forever closed to us.

QUESTION: I thought I read where Benoit had been tested four times by the WWE. The fourth time the results were announced, the first three times they were not. Were you made privy to the results of the earlier steroid testings by the WWE?

SPERRY: No. All I know about that is what, I guess what I have heard on the news. And I've certainly not seen any report, and I have no knowledge whatsoever about what they tested for, what they looked for, or frankly anything with respect to perhaps any medical conditions that Chris may have been being treated for anyway.

QUESTION: I know that there were a lot of prescription drugs that were discovered at the house. Were there any other steroids that were in -- at the home that were perhaps obviously not discovered in Chris Benoit's body?

SPERRY: I don't have personal knowledge of whatever else was found, and at this point in time, I think that falls under investigative information that is still being analyzed.

QUESTION: Doctor, can you clear this up for me? You said there was testosterone found in Chris Benoit's body.


QUESTION: But then we see the epitestosterone.


QUESTION: Explain that once again and clear me up.

SPERRY: All right. Every male, especially those of us with receding hairlines, manufacture testosterone and a breakdown product of the testosterone is the epitestosterone. So, in analyzing the urine of an adult male who has normally functioning testicles, there are amounts of testosterone that will be found and a corresponding but smaller amount of epitestosterone. And usually that ratio of testosterone to epitestosterone or T to E is about six or less.

So, the finding then of the extremely elevated T/E ratio means that the testosterone is much more elevated. And the only way that can occur in a situation like this, is from the administration or injection of testosterone.

QUESTION: Mr. Ballard, what do you do, if anything, with these results? How do they affect your investigation? SCOTT BALLARD, FAYETTE COUNTY, GA. DISTRICT ATTY: We're trying to envision as best we can what happened inside that household while these murders were taking place and while the suicide was taking place. This adds one element that we can consider along with all the other elements that are being investigated. So, it's a little unclear to know exactly where this leads us, but you take this piece and you compare it with what a witness said or what was found at the scene. And suddenly the picture begins to come more into focus. And that's what we certainly hope to do.

QUESTION: Doctor, any idea why Daniel would be sedated?

BALLARD: I could speculate, but right now I'm not going to.

QUESTION: Have you been satisfied with the level of cooperation all the way around, including the WWE?

BALLARD: Yes, I have. I know that this is an emotional issue for so many people. But we found that the level of cooperation has been good. There have been an awful lot of help, in quotes, that's been offered to us via e-mails and otherwise from concerned people with theories. And we've tried to actually look at those and sort through them to find the ones that are useful. Of course, very few of those are going to suggest anything we haven't already thought of.

QUESTION: Can I ask you the same question I asked the doctor? The previous drug test that the WWE administered to Chris, have you been privy to those results and what do those results say?

BALLARD: I personally have not. The sheriff's office may know, but I don't know.

HOLMES: We've been listening into this press conference here in Georgia. We are waiting. We have been awaiting the toxicology report on the pro wrestler, Chris Benoit, who police say killed his wife and his young son before hanging himself. So much speculation after that double murder/suicide about steroids possibly being used, some things and drugs were found at his house. But toxicology reports have maybe not really given the answers that many people thought might.

According to the doctors there, the levels of drugs in his system don't really reveal anything about his behavior. The levels of a couple drugs in his body were at therapeutic levels, not toxic levels, not elevated levels. And also testosterone found in his urine, as well, but none of that suggests, according to the chief medical examiner here in Georgia, none of that suggests that it would have had any adverse effect on his behavior.

Also, something coming out of the press conference that his son, the young son, 7-year-old Daniel, did have Xanax in his system, in his blood at a relatively high level, and that's certainly not something that would usually be prescribed to a child. Which led the medical examiner to believe that, in fact, the 7-year-old child was sedated at the time that he died and also the wife, Nancy, had three different drugs in her system, but also those were not at an elevated level, at a therapeutic level according to the medical examiner there. And of course, Chris Benoit was known as the "Canadian Crippler" inside the ring. Well, out of the ring, he was reportedly named in an investigation into an alleged illegal steroid distribution network. So all of this, still adds to the mystery, and again, the toxicology reports may be of some surprise to people. We are going to talk to "Sports Illustrated" Senior Investigative Reporter, Luis Fernando Llosa, who has written extensively about the case. And joins us now with his thoughts on today's toxicology reports.

Sir, you were listening in there. Tell me, were you surprised at the findings and what was in Chris Benoit's body?

LUIS FERNANDO LLOSA, "SPORTS ILLUSTRATED": Not really. It's interesting to note that this is a snapshot of what he had at the time of this tragedy. But it doesn't explain whether or not he abused steroids over a long period of time, and other drugs, and how that could have affected his mental and medical condition.

HOLMES: So was it unfair for folks to kind of, I guess maybe, jump to conclusions and just assume and talk about that roid rage that -- we've heard that name thrown around so much in the past couple weeks. Was it not right to kind of jump to conclusions to assume that maybe that made him snap?

LLOSA: You know, it probably wasn't roid rage. I mean, roid rage is specific and impulsive and what he did over the two or three days during which he was killing his family, allegedly. Was to deliberately construct a it seems to me, a fantasy world with bibles and ritual and then suicide.

So, we really don't know what was going on in his head. We never will. But the question that remains is a larger, big-picture question, which is, should the WWE and sports in general be more concerned about the abuse of steroids and human growth hormone in the sport's universe? And that is a question which needs to be answered and looked at seriously.

HOLMES: We're going to get more into that big question you talk about. There's a good way to wrap it up here. We're going to get a quick break in. Luis Fernando Llosa from "Sports Illustrated," Senior Investigative Reporter. We are going to take a quick break, talk to you on the other side about that big question you just brought up. Stay with us.


HOLMES: We're going to rejoin our discussion with Luis Fernando Llosa, "Sports Illustrated" Senior Investigative Reporter. Talk about these toxicology reports today, that we just heard about from pro wrestler Chris Benoit.

You talk there about the WWE needing to crack down and need do a better job of monitoring this stuff with their athletes. But should we hold these pro wrestlers under the same scrutiny when we're talking steroids? It's not the same as football or baseball where that's competitive? I mean, this is entertainment, it's scripted, it's a little different. Should we hold them to the same standard?

LLOSA: Well, if you take it on its own, it's entertainment. They script everything, like you say, it's obviously -- it's different from CO-HOST: sports in which there's, you know, a natural situation of completion and a winner. But this is the key here. The key here is that who watches entertainment, this type of entertainment? Kids do. Kids watch pro sports as well. They imitate. They want to be like the superstars in football, in basketball, in baseball, in soccer and in wrestling.

So, that's the question here. Do we care enough about our children to make sure that they are not emulating people who are doing dangerous things to themselves and, therefore, may follow in their footsteps.

HOLMES: How do we know just how bad is it in pro wrestling, the abuse of steroids?

LLOSA: Well, the question is how many deaths of wrestlers have occurred recently that can be linked to steroids, and there are many. Eddie Guerrero is probably the most high-profile before this Benoit case. And he died of an enlarged heart in a Minneapolis hotel room. He had been linked in an article that my colleague, John Wirtheim (ph) and I did on 11 wrestlers who were linked to a pipeline that we uncovered this spring. And the question is, are doctors acting responsibly or are there some doctors in America who are willing to prescribe anything to anybody? And that includes wrestlers and sports athletes of other kinds as well.

HOLMES: Tell me, to wrap up here, are we going to see a change from the WWE now? You mentioned other deaths. This one is certainly high-profile, one being talked about a lot. Will this move them to change the way they go about things at all, or will this story go away as well and back to business as usual at the WWE?

LLOSA: Well, I don't have a crystal ball here, but I can say this much, members of the board of the WWE are already looking into improving or examining and maybe relooking at this test. And this is not a story that's ended. This is not over. There will be more athletes linked to steroids.

In fact, Benoit received steroids at addresses connected to him from the pipeline, completely separate from Dr. Aston's (ph) prescribing him the voluminous amounts that he did over the last year as was determined and alleged by the DEA in their statements.

HOLMES: All right. Luis Fernando Llosa from "Sports Illustrated," we look forward to some more of your writing. You've written extensively about steroids, this case, this subject. We appreciate your time today. Thanks so much.

LLOSA: It's been a pleasure. Thank you.

PHILLIPS: Well a run on roll away beds and coffee in Washington. The Senate Democrats plan a Capitol Hill campout. Can they draw some more attention to getting combat troops out of Iraq? Straight ahead. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)