In some sad WWE news, the Superfly Jimmy Snuka murder trial resumed court on Friday to determine if he is mentally competent enough to stand trial for an alleged murder from three decades ago. Yahoo News reported that Dr. Frank Dattilio testified that Snuka’s professional wrestling career has rendered him incompetent to stand trial for the murder charges of ex-girlfriend Nancy Argentino.
The psychologist testified that Snuka is suffering from dementia, the doctor claiming that numerous head injuries, as well as alcohol and cocaine use, have rendered him incompetent to face the murder trial charges. The infamous WWE footage from the WWE of Rowdy Roddy Piper smashing a coconut over the head of Superfly Jimmy Snuka on a Piper’s Pit segment showed part of the damage that might have led to dementia.
The Jimmy Snuka murder trial hinges on whether Lehigh County Judge Kelly Banach will weigh the evidence and decide if Snuka is able to stand trial for the murder charges. Dattilio testified for the defense, and a psychologist for the prosecution will take the stand and testify on Wednesday. After that, the judge will make her decision.
Dattilio determined the damage to Snuka’s brain is permanent, and he will likely never return to normal competence. He also said that Snuka does not even understand the charges or why he was arrested. Jimmy has pleaded not guilty to all charges. The prosecution has shown video of Snuka in a wrestling ring last year and showed him cutting a promo in character from a recent appearance as well.
— WrestlingNewsSource (@WNSource) May 14, 2016
The Jimmy Snuka murder case was from a 1983 incident, where Snuka was on the road traveling between WWE professional shows and had Argentino, who was labeled as his mistress, with him at the time. Argentino was found dead at a hotel and the autopsy showed traumatic brain injuries. It looked like she might have been struck with a stationary object in the head.
According to Snuka, he returned from a WWE television taping in Philadelphia to the hotel room to find her dead. He told paramedics that he hit her during an argument earlier and she fell to the ground, hitting her head on the concrete. Jimmy then said later that she slipped in the bathroom and fell, hitting her head. Her death was not instant, as she died a short time after her injury. Police could not prove that Snuka was responsible and the case went cold.
Jimmy Snuka continued his professional wrestling career in the WWE, AWA, and ECW before he finally retired from competition in 1996. That was also the year he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. He made occasional returns to the ring, with his most recent appearance in the WWE taking place in 2010 for a WWE Monday Night Raw appearance where he stood in the corner of his daughter, Tamina Snuka. He also wrestled in 2014 for Big Time Wrestling.
While the Jimmy Snuka murder trial is troubling, the WWE has faced a long hard road when it comes to concussions. In 2007, Chris Benoit murdered his wife and child and then committed suicide. After his death, tests on Benoit’s brain showed that he had the brain of an 85-year-old Alzheimer’s patient. Benoit was 40 at the time of the murder-suicide. Earlier this year, Daniel Bryan was forced to retire when tests showed that his brain had been affected by years of head trauma.
Wrestle Zone reported that the murder trial will resume on Wednesday. While the coroner and forensic pathologist in 1983 believed that there was evidence to suggest foul play, Jimmy was never charged until 2013, when authorities reopened the case and chose to press charges. The Jimmy Snuka murder trial charges are for third-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter.
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