Former WWE Superstar 'Superfly' Jimmy Snuka was arrested in Allentown, Pennsylvania earlier today, and charged with third-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter for the 1983 death of his girlfriend, Nancy Argentino. The wrestler surrendered to a Lehigh County detective, when he was arraigned and sent to the county jail. He later posted $100,000 bail. Nancy Argentino's case went cold shortly after her death, but it was re-opened last year after an investigation by the Allentown Morning Call.
Nancy Argentino was found dead in a Whitehall Township hotel room on May 10, 1983. Jimmy Snuka was wrestling at the nearby Allentown Fairgrounds, when he returned to the hotel room and found Nancy Argentino gasping for air, with yellow fluid seeping from her nose and mouth. He called the front desk and had paramedics come to the hotel, who then rushed her to the hospital, where she later died. Jimmy Snuka was the sole person of interest in the case, but he was never charged. The case went cold in June 1983, when the police conducted a follow-up interview with Jimmy Snuka, which was also attended by WWE chairman Vince McMahon.
The case was re-opened last year by Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin, after the Allentown Morning Call obtained a never-before-seen autopsy report, where forensic pathologist Isidore Mihalakis stated that the case should be investigated as a homicide. The report stated Nancy Argentino died from "traumatic brain injuries," and that she also had over two dozen cuts and bruises that were consistent with signs of "mate abuse." The report also revealed that Nancy's injuries indicated she was hit with a stationary object.
The Lehigh County district attorney's office refused to release the autopsy report for the past 30 years, which was included in a 1985 wrongful death civil lawsuit filed by Nancy Argentino's family. They ended up winning a $500,000 settlement, but Jimmy Snuka never paid, claiming he was broke and couldn't afford a legal defense. The wrestler claimed in an October 1985 affidavit that he was fired by the WWE, which was then known as the WWF. Shortly after her death, Jimmy Snuka originally told at least five people, including the police officer who responded on the scene, that he shoved Nancy earlier that day, which caused her to fall and hit her head. He later changed his story, telling police that those five people misunderstood him, and that Nancy fell earlier that day while they were stopped along the side of the road, so Nancy could urinate.
After the case was re-opened, it was sent to a grand jury in January 2014 to investigate the new evidence. The grand jury's term expired at the end of July, leading to the arrest of Jimmy Snuka, who is now 72 years old. The former wrestler now lives in Waterford Township, New Jersey, and his wife recently announced that he has been diagnosed with stomach cancer. Throughout the years, the wrestler maintained his innocence, addressing the subject in his 2012 autobiography. Here's what he had to say in his book.
"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."
Four months before her death, though, the wrestler was charged with assaulting Nancy in a New York City hotel room, and then assaulting police officers who responded to the call. He ended up pleading guilty to harassment, but the more serious assault charges were dropped. Here's what the WWE had to say in a statement about today's arrest.
"WWE expresses its continued sympathy to the Argentino family for their loss. Ultimately this legal matter will be decided by our judicial system."
You can check out the original 2013 story from the Allentown Morning Call, which paved the way for this case to be re-opened, and, eventually, to today's arrest. What do you think about this shocking arrest? We'll keep you posted as soon as more details unfold from this case.