The personal doctor of the World Wrestling Entertainment’s Chris Benoit, who killed his wife, 7-year-old son and himself in 2007, pleaded guilty to illegally distributing prescription drugs to patients and conspiring to distribute prescription drugs.
After pleading not guilty to the charges in June, Dr. Phil Astin pleaded guilty Jan. 29 to a 175-count federal indictment as part of a 12-page plea bargain negotiated by his defense attorney.
A federal investigation found that Astin’s patients were sometimes given as many as four simultaneous prescriptions for drugs including Percocet, Oxycontin, Vicodin and Adderall – and that he wrote prescriptions without conducting physical exams.
Astin admitted that medicine he prescribed resulted in the overdose death of a female patient. The unidentified patient received a cocktail of drugs that included Xanax beginning in 2002. The patient died in June 2007, the same month authorities discovered the bodies of Benoit and his family.
Benoit strangled his wife and son and hanged himself in their Atlanta home. Astin had prescribed steroids for Benoit but a medical examiner couldn’t say whether the prescription played a role in the deaths.
Attorneys didn’t name any patient or link Astin to the WWE wrestler, and Astin’s defense attorney would not confirm that Astin played a role in the Benoit murder/suicide.
The indictment involves hundreds of prescriptions prescribed to 19 patients between May 2002 and July 2007.
More than 50 of the counts against Astin carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine. His sentencing is scheduled for May 12.