Last September, 32 years after the bizarre 1983 death of his girlfriend, Nancy Argentino, Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka was charged with her murder. For decades Argentino’s death had been the subject of rumors about who knew what (especially Vince McMahon) and how Snuka avoided charges for so long.
Now it’s possible that Snuka won’t go to trial after Lehigh County Judge Kelly Banach ruled yesterday that Snuka was not competent to stand trial.
According to the Lehigh Valley Express-Times, the issue was whether Snuka’s dementia was so severe that he couldn’t understand what was going on with the legal proceedings. His defense lawyers argued he did; the prosecutors said it was all a show. Banach sided with the defense, saying, “No offense, I don’t believe he’s smart enough to do it.” Banach made her decision after both sides presented their witnesses and the judge herself interviewed Snuka twice. From the Express-Times’s summary of one Banach interview:
Snuka was interviewed by Banach twice, once last month and again on Wednesday.
“Do you know they say you killed someone?” the judge asked.
“That’s what they say,” Snuka responded.
While the judge said she didn’t want to talk about the case’s details, when she asked Snuka about murder in general, at one point he answered, “It was just an accident ma’am. I didn’t do anything to hurt her.”
Banach moved on, asking the wrestler what would happen if he was convicted — what punishment would he face.
“Yeah, but I didn’t do anything,” he said.
[Chief Deputy District Attorney Charles F.] Gallagher confronted Snuka about claims he made about Argentino’s death in his autobiography, “Superfly: The Jimmy Snuka Story.”
“You know what brother, I’m not real sure about that,” Snuka said.
Snuka previously claimed he was not competent to testify before the grand jury that investigated Argentino’s death, but in that instance the supervising judge rejected the claim. As for yesterday’s decision, it doesn’t mean that all charges against Snuka will be dropped immediately, according to the Morning Call. There is still a chance he could stand trial—but the case also might stay in limbo for years.
The ruling means that the case will be stayed for at least six months. Snuka was ordered to return to court Dec. 2 for a review. That cycle could repeat indefinitely, until Snuka’s condition improves or prosecutors drop the charges.
Prosecutors also requested that Snuka be involuntarily committed to a mental health facility after Banach’s ruling, the Morning Call reported, which the judge denied.