Jimmy-Snuka-1 – 05SEP2015

Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka: Why It Took 32 Years To Charge Him With Murder?

Jimmy-Snuka 05SEP2015

If you were a WWF fan in the 80’s and 90’s then you know very well who Jimmy Snuka is.  Wrestling was “Reality TV” then.  Snuka along with Rowdy Roddy Piper, Rick Flair, Dusty Rhodes, The Iron Sheik and the Junk Yard Dog were a part of the WWF’s all star cast of legendary characters. Every kid who was a fan of the WWF stood on his or her bed, threw the Jimmy Snuka “I love you sign” up in the air with both hands and belly flopped onto their mattress.  Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka epitomized professional wrestling at that time.


Now at the age of 72, Snuka has resurfaced, but this time as an accused murderer.


The incident occurred in 1983 involving a woman named Nancy Argentino. Nancy was “Snuka’s” girlfriend and often traveled with him when he was on tour, despite Snuka having a wife and four children at home.  When news of her death hit the public, we were told that she simply slipped on the side of the highway and hit her head. Although the story sounded a little “fishy” at the time, without any social media people just talked quietly among themselves and the case went cold. It was a lot easier to hide your dirt back then.


There has been speculation for years regarding Nancy Argentino’s death. So much so that The Morning Call decided to do an article 2 years ago. In the article they started to lay the foundation to the events that finally led to Jimmy Snuka’s murder charges earlier this week. To be clear, he is being charged with third degree murder and involuntary manslaughter.

18666408-mmmain 05SEP2015An old photo of Argentino – a beautiful girl from Brooklyn

Some things about the case we know for a fact:

Snuka returned from a television taping for the WWF at the Allentown Fairgrounds in Pennsylvania and found Argentino lying unconscious with dilated pupils in their hotel room.  Nancy was gasping for air and yellow fluid was coming out of her nose and mouth. He dialed 911 and Argentino was taken to Lehigh Valley Hospital. She was pronounced dead around 3 AM on May 11, 1983.

According to the recent grand jury statement, there are a few things about the case that has led to Snuka being held responsible for her death.

  • Medical and autopsy evidence

For some unknown reason her autopsy report was not released. The morning call went after the report and found it in the federal archives warehouse in Philly. The report contained a few interesting statements about Argentino’s condition. It stated that Argentino suffered from more than two dozen cuts and contusions — a possible sign of “mate abuse” — on her head, ear, chin, arms, hands, back, buttocks, legs and feet. It also stated the following

In view of the autopsy findings and the discrepancies in the clinical history, I believe that the case should be investigated as a homicide until proven otherwise

To add to the validity of those statements, the report and examination was done by Isidore Mihalakis, who at the time was a nationally recognized forensic pathologist.

  • Snuka himself had many different accounts of what happened.

In his auto-biography he insisted that Argentino slipped and fell on the highway.  This would be story 1.

STORY 2: During the night of the incident, Snuka told the responding officer that they were fooling around just outside of their room and he pushed her, she fell and hit her head.

STORY 3: He told emergency room employees that they were arguing and he pushed her and she hit her head.

STORY 4: The ER doctor was told the same story as he told the emergency room employees but he added that he also gave her some light slaps to the face while they were fooling around.

There are 4 stories and the autopsy never found any gravel or dirt in the areas where she supposedly hit her head on the highway, which rules out the first story and the one Jimmy Snuka has stuck to the longest.

  • His prior assaults of Argentino and his ex-wife

Jimmy Snuka had a history of abusive behavior toward women including a prior incident in a hotel room in Syracuse New York that January, just four months before the death of Argentino.  Jimmy Snuka and Argentino returned from a wrestling match in Elmira, N.Y. when they began to fight because Nancy was not paying him enough attention.  When authorities arrived on the scene, Snuka was in his boxers and Nancy was covered in just a bed sheet.  She kept screaming that she wanted to get away from him.  Snuka at that time became violent and had to be put in a choke hold with a night stick.  It took 9 deputies and a dog to finally arrest him.  He was charged with third-degree assault, second-degree attempted assault, resisting arrest and obstructing a governmental administration.  He later plead to harassment and the other charges were dropped.  After all, he was Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka!

  • Not seeking medical attention in a timely mater

After what ever happened to Nancy happened, Jimmy Snuka still went to his WWF live taping, leaving Argentino to suffer in the hotel room.  I’m sure he was hoping that she wasn’t as badly hurt as she really was.  He didn’t think that her injuries would lead to her death.

After receiving letters from Argentino’s family the case was reopened by District Attorney Jim Martin. This time the Lehigh County grand jury recommended charging Snuka based on the 4 bullet points above. The court statement that dictated his arrest stated,

The weight of the evidence clearly indicates that James Snuka repeatedly assaulted Nancy Argentino on May 10, 1983 and then allowed her to lie in their bed at the George Washington Motor Lodge without obtaining the necessary medical attention.  His assaultive acts and his failure to obtain medical attention resulted in her death by homicide at 1:50 a.m. on May 11, 1983.”


Jimmy Snuka is now 72 and terminally ill.  He is suffering from stomach Cancer. He had bail set at $100,000 and was released on posting 10% and giving up his passport. This is unique for someone accused of murder. However they say that he is suffering from an illness that would be a huge financial burden on taxpayers.  It’s cheaper to let him go and seek health care outside of prison on his own accord.

Although I don’t agree with a murderer not doing his time in prison because he is sick, I also believe that a murder conviction will be difficult, even if it’s third degree.

Snuka appeared at the courthouse in a wheelchair and he also had a  feeding tube.  His attorney William E. Moore said that he was not physically or mentally fit to stand trial,

He is not in good shape physically or mentally.  I’m not sure he realized what was going on.  I’m not sure what his cognitive abilities are.

I along with his lawyer think that it would be hard to cross examine a defendant about events that happened 32 years ago.  Let alone a defendant suffering from dementia due to wrestling related injuries.

Argentino’s family has already won a case against Snuka from a wrongful death civil suit for $500,000 however it has been reported that they never were able to collect from Jimmy.

To this day Snuka says he’s innocent,

I will say this about the whole thing, brudda — that night ruined my life. To this day, that is how I feel. If I was guilty of anything, it was cheating on my wife, and that was it.

We all learned last month with Hulk Hogan that the WWF/WWE don’t play.  All of Jimmy Snuka’s memorabilia has been removed along with his profile from the WWE website.  I doubt if Jimmy will do any real time for this crime.  At age 72 and with failing health, his attorney can call for enough appeals to keep Snuka out of what would be his last steel cage.

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