Benoit Strangled Wife, Smothered Son
Tuesday, June 26, 2007; 11:21 PM
FAYETTEVILLE, Ga. -- Pro wrestler Chris Benoit strangled his wife, suffocated his 7-year-old son and placed a Bible next to their bodies before hanging himself with a weight-machine pulley, authorities said Tuesday.
Investigators found anabolic steroids in the house and want to know whether the muscle man nicknamed "The Canadian Crippler" was unhinged by the bodybuilding drugs, which can cause paranoia, depression and explosive outbursts known as "roid rage."
Authorities offered no motive for the killings, which were spread out over a weekend, and would not discuss Benoit's state of mind. No suicide note was found.
"In a community like this it's bizarre to have a murder-suicide, especially involving the death of a 7-year-old," District Attorney Scott Ballard said. "I don't think we'll ever be able to wrap our minds around this."
The Montreal-born Benoit was one of the stars of the WWE wrestling circuit and was known for his wholesome family-man image. His wife, Nancy, was a wrestling stage manager who worked under the name "Woman." They married in 2000.
When he won the world heavyweight championship in 2004, Benoit (pronounced ben-WAH) hoisted the belt over his head and invited his wife and child into the ring to celebrate. Asked by the Calgary Sun that year to name his worst vice, Benoit replied: "Quality time with my family is a big vice. It's something I'll fight for and crave."
Despite those appearances, Nancy Benoit had filed for a divorce in 2003, saying the couple's three-year marriage was irrevocably broken and alleging "cruel treatment." She later dropped the complaint, as well as a request for a restraining order in which she charged that the 5-foot-10, 220-pound Benoit had threatened her and had broken furniture in their home.
In the divorce filing, she said Benoit made more than $500,000 a year as a professional wrestler and asked for permanent custody of Daniel and child support. In response, Benoit sought joint custody.
The bodies were found Monday afternoon in the house, off a gravel road in this suburb about 20 miles south of Atlanta.
Benoit's 43-year-old wife was killed Friday in an upstairs family room, her feet and wrists were bound and there was blood under her head, indicating a possible struggle, Ballard said. Daniel was probably killed late Saturday or early Sunday, the body found in his bed, the district attorney said.
Benoit, 40, apparently hanged himself several hours and as long as a day later, Ballard said. His body was found in a downstairs weight room, his body found hanging from the pulley of a piece of exercise equipment.
A closed Bible was placed next to the bodies of the wife and son, authorities said.