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MAY 13 UPDATE
After a two-month delay, Jimmy Snuka returned to Pennsylvania court on Friday to determine if he can stand trial in the death of his 1983 girlfriend, Nancy Argentino.
The determination from a clinical psychologist is that Snuka, 72, is not competent to stand trial, reports the Morning Call covering Friday’s hearing in Allentown, Pa.
Dr. Frank M. Dattilio said that after studying Snuka “several times” over the past year, he has determined that Snuka is a “shell of a man” whose brain is “damaged beyond repair from years of wrestling stunts.”
Snuka is also suffering from dementia that is “worsening by the month,” and he has “serious memory loss,” Dr. Dattilio added. “He is unable to understand the legal process.” Dr. Dattilio also claimed the pressure of a trial “would case a severe erosion of his emotional state.”
Also cited at Snuka’s competency hearing is that his “severe mental impairment” was brought on by a history of “abusing alcohol and cocaine,” along with the blows to his head from wrestling, reports the AP via ABC News.
Dr. Dattilio was the first witness called at Friday’s competency hearing. Other witnesses presented by the prosecutors will attempt to show that Snuka is able to stand trial. A final decision was unlikely on Friday, The Call reports.
MARCH 8 UPDATE
There is another delay in Jimmy Snuka’s murder trial related to the death of Snuka’s 1983 girlfriend, Nancy Argentino, reports the Allentown Morning Call.
A competency hearing was scheduled for next week, reports Lehigh Valley Live, but the hearing has been pushed back to May 13.
Judge Kelly L. Banach decided that experts need more time to determine Snuka’s mental state and whether he can stand trial. The district attorney’s office disclosed that Judge Banach wants to allow for “sufficient time” to complete the evaluation.
Snuka, 72, was charged with third-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter after a Pennsylvania grand jury re-evaluated the cold case.
A gag order was issued to prevent family members from discussing the case while the case goes through the judicial process.
JANUARY 15 UPDATE
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Jimmy Snuka’s murder case will not be going to trial on March 22. The trial was delayed until a later time until the court can determine whether Snuka is fit for trial.
According to the Associated Press, Snuka’s defense attorney, Robert Kirwan II, filed a motion in Lehigh County (Pa). Court claiming that Snuka is mentally incompetent and “has no idea what charges he faces.”
Following a grand jury’s review of the 1983 death of Snuka’s girlfriend, Nancy Argentino, Snuka was charged with third degree murder and involuntary manslaughter.
The district attorney’s office is seeking an independent evaluation of Snuka’s condition to see if he is able to stand trial. The DA’s office says Snuka’s health was considered during the grand jury review in 2015. However, Snuka’s attorney says Snuka’s health has recently deteriorated.
DECEMBER 9 UPDATE
A trial date of March 22 has been set in the murder case of Jimmy Snuka’s 1983 girlfriend, Nancy Argentino.
The date was set at the latest court hearing Tuesday in Lehigh County, Pa. Snuka attended, but did not speak during the hearing, according to a Morning Call report.
The trial is expected to last one week following jury selection.
Snuka is facing charges of third-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter after a Pennsylvania grand jury reviewed the evidence available from the cold case.
NOVEMBER 30 UPDATE
There appears to be some gamesmanship in the lead-up to Jimmy Snuka’s next court hearing on Tuesday, December 8 in the case of the death of his 1983 girlfriend, Nancy Argentino.
According to a new report, Snuka’s defense team filed a motion on November 16 seeking discovery in Nancy’s death. On Dec. 8, Snuka’s defense will reportedly “ask a judge why state prosecutors have not produced evidence showing the 72-year old murdered his ex-girlfriend 32 years ago.”
The prosecution is pointing to the Pennsylvania grand jury’s review of the available evidence in the cold case, which produced a fresh murder charge. (Report at DailyItem.com)
NOVEMBER 2 REPORT
Former WWF star Jimmy Snuka entered a Not Guilty plea in the murder of his 1983 girlfriend, Nancy Argentino, at a court hearing Monday in Pennsylvania.
Snuka is facing third-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter charges after a grand jury reviewed evidence in the cold case and recommended Snuka be charged in Argentino’s death.
At Monday’s hearing, Snuka had trouble answering questions. Snuka’s defense attorney, Robert Kirwan, told the court that Snuka is suffering from “dementia and post-concussion disorder,” to go along with recovering from stomach cancer treatment.
In summary, Kirwan said Snuka might not be competent to stand trial.
The next hearing is scheduled for December 8. In the interim, a gag order has been ordered for all involved parties – Snuka, his defense team, the prosecution, and Nancy’s family – to prevent “the case from being tried in the press,” according to Judge Kelly Banach.
There are several reasons why the gag order was called for, including comments made by Snuka’s defense team to the media following the previous hearing, Nancy’s family continuing to speak out about 1983 events, and concern over the case turning into a bigger story on the national level, potentially affecting a jury pool.
This is especially the case when Snuka’s attorney, Kirwan, said he might seek a change of venue for Snuka’s trial.
Monday’s hearing made local headlines in Pennsylvania and was covered nationally by the AP.
For more perspective, read wrestling author Irv Muchnick’s coverage of Monday’s events at ConcussionInc.net.