Judge won’t drop homicide charges against WWE's Snuka
ALLENTOWN, Pa. — An eastern Pennsylvania judge says she won’t dismiss the homicide charges against former pro wrestling star Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka in the death of his girlfriend more than three decades ago but may consider doing so later.
The Lehigh County judge in June ruled the 73-year-old defendant mentally incompetent to stand trial in his girlfriend’s 1983 death. She declined prosecutors’ request to have him involuntarily committed to a mental hospital.
Prosecutors then asked the judge to either require Snuka to participate in outpatient treatment to determine whether he can become mentally competent or dismiss the charges.
“If you believe that he’s not going to become competent, then what’s the point?” Chief Deputy District Attorney Charles Gallagher III asked Judge Kelly Banach in court on Tuesday. “We ask you to dismiss the charges.”
Banach said she wasn’t comfortable with dismissing the charges at this point but wanted to revisit the case at Snuka’s next evaluation hearing in December. She said she was open to reconsidering her decision if new evidence to drop the charges was presented.
The defense has argued that Snuka suffers from dementia, partly due to the head trauma he suffered over a long career in the ring. A prosecution expert said Snuka’s brain shows normal signs of aging and suggested that he might be feigning symptoms. Gallagher repeated that contention Tuesday, saying the defendant has “been an actor his whole life.”
Banach, who questioned Snuka herself earlier, said in June that she found the wrestler “vacant” and unable to assist in his defense. “I don’t believe he’s faking it. I don’t think he’s smart enough to fake it,” Banach said in June.
If Banach grants the prosecution’s motion to require outpatient treatment, it’s unclear where Snuka would receive it.
Snuka, a native of Fiji who lives in New Jersey, was charged last year with third-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter in the death of 23-year-old Nancy Argentino, whose body was found in their Whitehall Township hotel room. Prosecutors allege she was beaten while Snuka has maintained that she died from a fall.