The autopsy report told cops to consider Nancy Argentino’s death a homicide. So why did they buy his constantly evolving story?

WWE Hall of Famer Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka has been diagnosed with stomach cancer, his wife revealed (Photo Credit: Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images)

Former professional wrestling star Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka was charged Tuesday, September 2, 2015 with third-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter in the death of his mistress more than three decades ago.

Prosecutors in Lehigh County announced the results of a grand jury investigation into the death of Nancy Argentino, 23, of New York.

Snuka, who had been at a World Wrestling Federation taping at the Allentown Fairgrounds, told police shortly after Argentino’s death that he had returned to the couple’s Whitehall Township hotel room to find her unresponsive in bed. She was pronounced dead at a hospital several hours later.

Nancy Argentino in an undated photo provided by her family
Nancy Argentino in an undated photo provided by her family

An autopsy determined she died of traumatic brain injuries and had more than three dozen cuts and bruises, and concluded her injuries were consistent with being hit with a stationary object. At the time, forensic pathologist Isidore Mihalakis wrote that the case should be investigated as a homicide until proven otherwise, according to a grand jury report released Tuesday. But the investigation went cold.

A June 2013 investigation by The Morning Call of Allentown raised questions about the case. Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin told the paper last year that Argentino’s sisters approached him after the story ran, prompting him to give the case another look.

The grand jury’s report said Snuka had provided more than a half-dozen shifting accounts of Argentino’s injuries, at first telling paramedics he hit her during an argument outside their hotel room and that she struck her head on concrete, then claiming to police she slipped and fell during a bathroom break on their way to the hotel.

Jimmy 'Superfly' Snuka in the fighting ring
Jimmy ‘Superfly’ Snuka in the fighting ring

The grand jury also said it heard evidence that Snuka beat Argentino in a hotel room in Syracuse, New York, in January 1983 — four months before her death — and repeatedly assaulted his wife, Sharon, in the fall of 1993.

Snuka, now 72 and living in Waterford Township, N.J., has long maintained his innocence, saying the episode had ruined his life.

“Many terrible things have been written about me hurting Nancy and being responsible for her death, but they are not true,” he wrote in his 2012 autobiography. “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.”

Fan poster of 'Jimmy Superfly' Snuka
Fan poster of ‘Jimmy Superfly’ Snuka

Argentino’s sister, Louise Argentino-Upham, told The Morning Call that the charges came as a relief, especially the prospect that her mother, who turns 90 this year, may see justice in the case.

“I think that it’s been a long road,” Argentino-Upham said. “They did the right thing in face of all the evidence.”

Nicknamed “Superfly,” the Fiji native was known for diving from the ropes and even the top of steel cages in a career that spanned four decades. He was admitted into the World Wrestling Entertainment Hall of Fame in 1996, according to the organization’s website.

Jimmy ‘Superfly’ Snuka, who has long been discussed as a suspect in girlfriend Nancy Argentino's death in 1983, is shown with his daughter Liana. (Photo Credit: DEBBIE EGAN-CHIN)
Jimmy ‘Superfly’ Snuka, who has long been discussed as a suspect in girlfriend Nancy Argentino’s death in 1983, is shown with his daughter Liana. (Photo Credit: DEBBIE EGAN-CHIN)

“WWE expresses its continued sympathy to the Argentino family for their loss,” the organization said in a statement Tuesday. “Ultimately this legal matter will be decided by our judicial system.”

Snuka was arraigned Tuesday afternoon and sent to Lehigh County Jail, but he was expected to post a portion of his $100,000 bail.

Argentino’s family won a wrongful death lawsuit against Snuka in 1985.

(via Fox News)

NO COMMENTS

Leave a Comment

To leave a comment anonymously, simple write your thoughts in the comments box below and click the ‘post comment’ button.