A Lehigh County, Pa. judge has dropped homicide charges against former pro wrestler Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka, who had been accused in 2013 of murdering his girlfriend Nancy Argentino 34 years ago.
Judge Kelly L. Banach ruled in a one-sentence decree that Snuka is not competent to stand trial, saying “it would be unjust to resume the prosecution.” Experts clashed on Snuka’s competence, with doctors called by the defense indicating that Snuka is in hospice care and has only six months to live, but psychiatrists called by the prosecution contending that Snuka was faking dementia for the judge and the cameras.
At the beginning of the trial, Snuka pleaded not guilty to the charges of third-degree and involuntary manslaughter and his attorney contended that years of concussions and head trauma in the ring have left him unfit for trial. During a competency hearing, Snuka said he was in his 80s, but according to court records, he’s only 73. He did not know the correct year, could not identify presidential candidates, or remember his mother’s name. According to his wife, Snuka believed that when he was arrested, he thought he was headed to a wrestling appearance to sign autographs.
“I don’t believe he’s faking it,” Banach said in June. “No offense, but I don’t think he’s smart enough to fake it.”
Lehigh County Chief Deputy District Attorney Charles Gallagher’s office released a statement hinting at a possible appeal: “We are considering our options and will decide at the appropriate time what actions we will take.”