Convicted steroids dealer David Jacobs found dead in Plano home
Written by JASON TRAHAN and RICHARD ABSHIRE / The Dallas Morning News
Convicted steroids dealer David Jacobs, who recently agreed to tell the NFL which football players received banned substances he manufactured, was found shot dead in his Plano home this morning.
The body of Amanda Jo Earhart-Savell, 30, and a gun were also found at the home. Mr. Jacobs and Ms. Earhart-Savell had been engaged in the past, and had broken off and re-established their relationship several times.
Police received a missing-person call this morning shortly after midnight from Ms. Earhart-Savell's family, said Plano police spokesman Rick McDonald. The family said she might be at the house on Honey Creek.
Police arrived to find Mr. Jacobs, 35, and Ms. Earhart-Savell dead inside from gunshot wounds. Authorities were not saying whether this was a murder-suicide.
"We're not speculating," Officer McDonald said. "It's a high-profile case. They're not going to leave anything unturned."
About 11:30 a.m., four men in raid jackets with "police" on the back and wearing ski masks - undercover officers - arrived at the busy scene and entered the home carrying a cart to carry materials.
The Dallas Morning News spoke to Mr. Jacobs frequently and exchanged e-mails with him as recently as this weekend. He was interested in getting on with his life after accepting a plea deal for three years of probation on charges related to his steroids trafficking.
Mr. Jacobs said he wanted to rebuild his nutritional supplement business, but he was having trouble getting his old client base to work with him. He also was having financial problems, but the former Marine seemed to be in good spirits.
On May 21, he said he was moving forward with plans to speak to school students about the risks of steroids use. "They are being scheduled now, everyone is really supportive!" he wrote in an e-mail.
Reached at his home in Atlanta, Mr. Jacobs' father, David Arthur Jacobs, said he feared something bad would happen to his son in the wake of his steroids case. "I've been waiting on this call," he said.
Art Atwood, a nationally noted body-builder and former close friend of Mr. Jacobs, is himself awaiting sentencing on charges related to steroids trafficking. He said Thursday such stresses and pressures are "a recipe for disaster."
He described Mr. Jacobs as a passionate man. "Whatever he did it was one hundred percent. Full blaze on."
His attorney, Hank Hockeimer, said early Thursday he had not yet been briefed on the situation at the home.
About a year ago, investigators with the Food and Drug Administration's office of criminal investigations, the Drug Enforcement Administration and others shut down Mr. Jacobs' steroids network, which was described as one of the largest in the country.
Mr. Jacobs imported raw powder from China and made steroids, which he sold through a network that investigators believe could be one of the largest in the U.S.
A day after The Dallas Morning News first reported on his case, Ms. Earhart-Savell posted an entry about Mr. Jacobs on her MySpace blog. "I love u with all my heart and so proud of u! keep your head up baby doll!"
On May 21, Mr. Jacobs met with NFL security officials to share information about steroids use and their football players.
Mr. Jacobs has publicly accused ex-Dallas Cowboys lineman Matt Lehr of buying large quantities of banned substances, but has never for the record named the names of other football players who received the steroids he manufactured.
Mr. Hockeimer said this of the meeting at the time:
"The general topic was his knowledge of steroid and human growth hormone use by current and former players. They were thorough in their questioning. David provided them with documents corroborating what he was telling them."
Mr. Hockeimer would not say which players were discussed. But he said Mr. Jacobs provided documentary evidence of claims he was making.
At the time of Mr. Jacobs' alleged transactions with Mr. Lehr, the football player was playing for the Atlanta Falcons. He is now signed with the New Orleans Saints.
Mr. Lehr's attorney, Paul Coggins, has said prosecutors have informed him that Mr. Lehr will not be indicted in the Jacobs case. Mr. Coggins has said Mr. Jacobs has "peddled these tales to the government unsuccessfully" and has said prosecutors do not plan to indict his client.
Federal agents were investigating Mr. Lehr for alleged distribution to other players, but have not commented on his status, other than to say the case is ongoing.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said Thursday that league representatives interviewed David Jacobs on two occasions.
"We are reviewing the information to determine if there is documented evidence establishing any violations of our program and will follow up on any other information that is provided," he said. "We offer our sympathy to the families of David Jacobs and Amanda Jo Earhart-Savell."
Mr. Aiello said it would be premature to comment on any specific player at this time. "Anyone found to have violated our policies will be subject to discipline, including suspension," he said.
He said Mr. Jacobs was not paid for the information.
One of the areas of interest to the NFL was Mr. Jacobs' allegation that players use a hair-loss-prevention drug that can also act as a masking agent for steroid use.
He said that in 2006, Mr. Lehr used such a medication, and Mr. Jacobs said federal investigators confiscated a bottle of that medicine given to Mr. Jacobs by Mr. Lehr.
The label bore an NFL team logo, along with Mr. Lehr's name, Mr. Jacobs said.
The use of finasteride, sold under the trade names Propecia and Proscar, has been reviewed by the National Football League, but has not been banned. It is prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency, which oversees international competition such as the Olympics.
Outside the Sherman federal courthouse, having just been sentenced on May 1, Mr. Jacobs, 35, said that he wanted to share his knowledge of testing loopholes and the prevalence of performance enhancing-drug use with the NFL to "clean up" the game.
His six co-defendants were either personal trainers or amateur bodybuilders. Ms. Earhart-Savell was not indicted or in any way connected to the case.
But she later paid the price for standing by Mr. Jacobs, who was persona non grata in the close-knit bodybuilding community because he was perceived as a "snitch." Also a body builder, she expressed frustration earlier this year when she was not invited to an international body-building competition named after Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Mr. Jacobs said she felt she didn't make it into the competition because of her association with him and his legal case.
Ms. Earhart-Savell discussed the situation without being too specific in a February blog entry: "I have moved forward even though yes, it hurts, because it was a huge dream of mine taken away.....it is what it is ... I would never change my personal life to please a judge or anybody for that matter."
A few weeks ago, attempting to turn things around after his legal troubles ended, Mr. Jacobs was thrilled at the positive response to an online audio interview he gave. "There are many facets to everything," he said. "God I really do need to write a book..."