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By Mike Johnson on 2016-08-02 11:36:00

With no sign that WWE Hall of Famer Jimmy Snuka will ever be ruled mentally competent to stand trial on charges of involuntary manslaughter and third-degree murder in the 1983 death of his then-girlfriend Nancy Argentino in Allentown, PA, Prosecutors and Snuka's defense both requested that the charges against Snuka be dropped, only to have that request shot down by Lehigh County Judge Kelly L. Banach, who stated she would revisit the case in December.

During today's proceedings, Chief Deputy District Attorney Charles Gallagher requested that the charges be dropped after Banach had previously shot down an attempt to have Snuka hospitalized.  Gallagher had also previously filed a motion asking that Snuka be placed in a 60 day outpatient treatment to see if his mental health issues can be improved to the point he can one day stand trial.  Gallagher stated in court today that if the Judge didn't believe Snuka's issues would improve, there was no point in maintaining the charges.

Snuka's defense attorney, Robert Kirwan also pushed for a dismissal, claiming that Snuka's mental issues have worsened and he no longer even recognizes his wife.  Snuka has also been battling stomach cancer.

Banach stated that she would not dismiss the charges at this time and maintained they would reconvene in December to discuss where Snuka's mental state was but if new evidence regarding why the charges should be dropped was introduced before then, she would consider it.

Nancy Argentino had been on the road traveling with Snuka at the time of her death.  Snuka had wrestled for the WWF on 5/10/83 at a TV Taping at the Allentown Fairgrounds. When he got back to his hotel room, Snuka said that he found Argentino gasping for air and oozing yellow fluid from her nose and mouth. She died on 5/11/83 with her autopsy stating it was due to traumatic brain injures. Argentino also had a number of cuts and bruises which suggested domestic abuse. There had been an incident in New York State several weeks before where police were called due to a situation between Snuka and Argentino in a hotel. 

The medical examiner's report at the time stated Argentino's injuries were consistent with being hit with a “stationary object."  The forensic pathologist suggested that the case be invested as a homicide but no one was ever charged and the report was lost somewhere along the way.  How that happened and how the case went cold has never been explained.  Whether that happening leaves the Argentino family in an actionable position in civil court against the State remains to be seen.

Snuka, after the case remained cold for decades, was charged last year with involuntary manslaughter and third-degree murder.  The "lost" autopsy report from the medical examiner at the time was discovered by The Allentown Morning Call as they covered the 30th anniversary of Argentino's death.  That report, as well as Snuka's 2012 autobiography Superfly providing a different version of the circumstances leading to Argentino's death when compared to what Snuka told authorities in 1983, as well as two new witnesses who worked at the motel coming forward, all led to him being indicted.

In 1983, Snuka claimed there was horseplay that led to Argentino getting hurt and he wasn't aware of the seriousness of the situation until he called for medical help after working the WWF TV taping.  In his 2012 autobiography Superfly, Snuka claimed that the two stopped for Argentino to go to bathroom on the side of a road when she slipped and hit her head on a rock.    He stated that he put her to bed, checked on her after wrestling for WWF, returned for another set of tapings and when he came back to the hotel after WWF had completed TV, realized the seriousness of the situation and called for an ambulance.

Judge Banach ruled in June that Snuka was mentally incompetent to stand trial, following Snuka taking the stand himself twice over the course of those mental competency hearings.   Snuka was questioned by Judge Banach during those proceedings about his health.  During the questioning, Snuka was not aware this was an Election year and could not name politicians or sports personalities, although he admitted he regularly watched the news.  He stated he did not know who would sit in the Jurors' box during a trial, responding it would be Judges and referred to Judge Banach as "hon" and "sister."   Banach noted at the time she did not believe Snuka was "smart enough" to be faking his condition.

During his testimony, Snuka was unable to remember the name of his mother when asked.   Snuka was also reportedly "confused" about his given name and age.  When asked about Argentino's death on the stand during his mental competency hearing, Snuka commented, "It was just an accident ma'am. I didn't do anything to hurt her."

WWE announced they had suspended Snuka from his Legends deal when he was indicted on the charges.

Thanks to Chris Pierce.



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