The latest development in the ongoing Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka murder case saga came Monday when the 72-year-old former professional wrestler pleaded not guilty to charges of third-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter.
Snuka was charged in September for his alleged role in the 1983 death of his then-girlfriend, 23-year-old Nancy Argentino. Before her death Argentino was found with severe head injuries at the George Washington Motel in Allentown, Pennsylvania, in a motel room she shared with Snuka, according to reports. Those reports indicate that Argentino was repeatedly assaulted before she was left in the hotel room to die.
At the time, Snuka said he had been at a World Wrestling Federation taping at the Allentown Fairgrounds. When he returned to his hotel room, he said Argentino was unresponsive.
In 2013, the investigation into Argentino’s death was re-opened after the The Morning Call newspaper in Allentown, Pennsylvania, released a copy of Argentino’s autopsy report, which previously had not been seen by the public. The autopsy report ruled the death of Snuka’s girlfriend to be a homicide.
According to Fox News, that autopsy indicated that Argentino died of a traumatic brain injury. The autopsy also indicated that she had dozens of cuts and bruises and that she had been beaten with a stationary object. At the time, the forensic investigator recommended that the death be investigated as a homicide.
Reports also indicate that Snuka’s account of what happened that evening changed several times, depending on who he was talking to. According to other reports, Snuka had allegedly assaulted Argentino several months earlier in a New York hotel room, and he had been accused of assaulting his wife in 1993.
On Monday, The Morning Call reported that Superfly had appeared in the Lehigh County Court to enter his plea of not guilty. During the hearing, Snuka told the judge that he never attended school, is unable to read or write in English, and that he didn’t know what day it was.
Snuka’s current condition is the result of a combination of early-onset dementia and post-concussion syndrome, his attorney said. Snuka was recently treated for stomach cancer.
According to Snuka’s attorney, Robert J. Kirwan II, Argentino’s 1983 death was an accident, and Snuka is looking forward to “clearing his name.”
Argentino’s sister, Lorraine Salome, is hoping for something different: justice. In talking with The Morning Call on Sunday, Salome said she simply hopes the truth will come out.
“I just hope that justice can prevail. All these years the question in my mind is: ‘Why?'”
Salome went on to say that Argentino, who had been in a relationship with Snuka for two years, truly loved the ex-professional wrestler.
“My sister really cared for him. She not only cared for him, she took care of him. She went on the road with him; she did everything for him. She loved him.”
According to his 2012 autobiography, the years since Argentino’s death have been difficult for Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka. The Fiji-native, who now lives in New Jersey, wrote that the whispered accusations have ruined his life.
“Many terrible things have been written about me hurting Nancy and being responsible for her death, but they are not true. This has been very hard on me and very hard on my family. To this day, I get nasty notes and threats. It hurts. I never hit Nancy or threatened her.”
During Superfly’s time in the WWF, the wrestler was known for his wild appearance, his jumping antics, and his longevity. Snuka’s time in the WWF spanned across four decades, and he was admitted into the World Wrestling Entertainment Hall of Fame in 1996, according to Fox News.
Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka has been out on bail of $100,000 since he was charged.
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