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Dead Wrestler's Doctor Faces Charges

The personal doctor of a pro wrestler who killed his wife and son before committing suicide was charged Monday with improperly dispensing painkillers and other drugs to other patients.

The seven-count indictment said Dr. Phil Astin, physician to wrestler Chris Benoit, dispensed drugs including Percocet, Xanax, Lorcet and Vicoprofen between April 2004 and September 2005. The recipients were identified in the indictment by the initials O.G. and M.J.; Benoit's initials were not listed.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Linda Walker ordered Astin held in lieu of $125,000 bond and said that regardless of whether he came up with the money, he would be in jail overnight. Astin will be under house arrest once he posts bond, she said.

A criminal complaint filed before the indictment and made public Monday said Astin had written prescriptions for about 1 million doses of controlled substances over the past two years, including "significant quantities" of injectable testosterone cypionate, an anabolic steroid.

The complaint by Drug Enforcement Administration Agent Anissa Jones said the amount of prescriptions was "excessive" for a medical office with a sole practitioner in a rural area like Carrollton, about 40 miles west of Atlanta.

The affidavit said Astin prescribed a 10-month supply of anabolic steroids to Benoit every three to four weeks between May 2006 and May 2007. It says that during a probe involving RX Weight Loss, Benoit was identified as an excessive purchaser of injectable steroids. Prosecutors would not clarify what RX Weight Loss is.

The affidavit also said Astin was identified as the supplier of various controlled substances, including injectable anabolic steroids that were found in Benoit's home.

Assistant U.S. Attorney John Horn said that when agents raided the doctor's office Wednesday, Astin was carrying Benoit's medical file.

Astin's attorney, Manny Arora, said the doctor had brought the file because he thought the authorities would want it.

Astin has not been charged with supplying steroids to Benoit, though U.S. Attorney David E. Nahmias said that the investigation continues and that more charges are possible.

Federal drug agents have taken over the probe into whether Astin improperly prescribed testosterone and other drugs to Benoit before the killings and suicide in the wrestler's suburban Atlanta home last month. State prosecutors and sheriff's officials are overseeing the death investigation.

Federal prosecutors are seeking the forfeiture of all property and proceeds Astin obtained through the illegal conduct if he's convicted.

Investigators have conducted two raids at Astin's west Georgia office since last week.

Astin prescribed testosterone for Benoit, a longtime friend, in the past but has not said what, if any, medications he prescribed when Benoit visited his office June 22, the day authorities believe Benoit killed his wife.

Toxicology tests on Benoit's body have not yet been completed, Fayette County District Attorney Scott Ballard said.

Anabolic steroids were found in Benoit's home, leading officials to wonder whether the drugs played a role in the killings. Some experts believe steroids can cause paranoia, depression and violent outbursts known as "roid rage."

"We're still asking questions and searching for answers with regard to the death so we can tie up loose ends," Ballard said.

Ballard said finding a motive in the case remains elusive.

"I think it will always be undetermined as to 'Why?"' Ballard said. "I think it's because there can't be any satisfactory reason why you kill a 7-year-old."

Authorities have said Benoit strangled his wife and son, placing Bibles next to their bodies, before hanging himself with the cable of a weight-machine in his home.

Benoit's father, Michael, said Monday that "it's impossible to come up with a rational explanation for a very irrational act."

"Let the cards fall where they fall, we have no control over it at this point," he said.

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