Both Lehigh Valley Live and the Allentown Morning Call are reporting that Jimmy Snuka’s murder trial for the 1983 death of Nancy Argentino is no longer set to begin on March 22nd. Instead, there’s no trial date for the time being, as Snuka’s lawyer, Robert Kirwan II, is arguing that he’s not competent to stand trial. Apparently, Snuka was diagnosed with both post-concussion syndrome and dementia in 2010, and last year, a forensic psychologist also said he would not be competent to stand trial.
The prosecutor, Charles Gallagher, accused Snuka of faking, saying that “Mr. Snuka has had a career in entertainment,” but Judge Kelly Banach cut him off, adding that “He’s also had a career in head trauma theater.” The prosecution wants an independent expert to examine Snuka, but the judge, not wanting to spend extra taxpayer funds, is OK with going by what the defense and prosecution’s own experts say. The judge will rule on March 18th after a hearing where each side’s expert has to say.
According to Kirwan, Snuka:
- Doesn’t recognize him as his lawyer or know why he’s there.
- “Has not been able to communicate with me on any appreciable level”
- “Had no idea what charges he faced”
- “Has no recollection of the incident”
Argentino died in 1983 after hitting her head in her and Snuka’s hotel room. Snuka is charged with causing her death by way of abusing her and then not making any effort to get her medical attention after she was injured. Snuka’s initial statements (to hospital personnel, etc.) were consistent with that, but after she died, he changed his story to Nancy falling by the side of the road after exiting the car to urinate.
From his police interview the next day:
On the way here, we stopped on the side of the road to use the bathroom. She was desperate to use the bathroom, so she went a little into the bushes and squatted..In the meantime there were a lot of trucks coming by. So I said to hurry up and she jumped across the grass on to the road. And then she slipped and fell backwards and hit her head. Right on the concrete on the side of the road, she just slipped backwards.
According to Argentino’s autopsy report, there was no dirt, gravel, etc on the body consistent with falling outside. The case remained open for decades, but police mysteriously stopped working on it after just a few weeks. For decades, Argentinos death was believed to have been ruled inconclusive, but the autopsy makes it very clear that the coroner thought it was a homicide.