ALLENTOWN, Pa. — From the very outset Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka was considered a person of interest in his girlfriend’s death, but the investigation fell through the cracks and he escaped being dubbed a suspect and was never charged.
After more than three decades of whispers, a grand jury sounded off with an indictment of murder.
A longtime wrestling legend who earned a place in the WWE hall of fame, Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka escaped charges even though he initially admitted shoving Nancy Argentino, causing her to fall and hit her head, a story he later changed.
It was May of 1983 when the 23-year-old Brooklyn woman was found gasping for air in her Allentown motel room. She died one day later.
An autopsy determined she had died of traumatic brain injuries and suffered more than two dozen cuts and bruises, injuries authorities described as consistent with “mate abuse.”
Superfly continued thrilling fans as the investigation went cold until two years ago when a local newspaper, the Morning Call, uncovered a never-before-seen autopsy report that labeled Nancy’s death a homicide. A grand jury was enlisted, leading to Snuka’s arrest.
Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin said Snuka has been charged with third-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter in connection with Argentino’s death.
He’s been arraigned and being held in jail pending posting $100,000 bail.
The victims family never gave up hope that someday they would have justice.
The victim’s sister, Lorraine Salone told PIX11 News, “I was in total shock. I couldn’t believe it. It’s been so many years waiting for justice.”
In 1985 the family won a half million dollar wrongful death case against Snuka, but he never paid because he claimed he was broke.
The family’s pursuit of justice led to nothing but frustration.
“We pursued for a while and doors were slammed in our faces,” Salone said, adding “we just couldn’t go on anymore. We had to stop.”
In his 2012 autobiography Snuka maintained his innocence and the book gave the family a new path to pursue:
“We read the whole book and it gave us a lot of insight. He kinda did himself in. He must have had a guilty conscience. He said so in the book and he had to live with that,” the heartbroken sister said.
Lorraine and another sister are planning to be in court when Snuka’s case goes to trial.
After so many years they hope to finally have justice.
Salone said there is some sense of relief after all these years. “it’s important to never give up because eventually you can get justice,” she declared.
Snuka was arrested at his home in southern New Jersey, and now faces trial for a cold murder case that suddenly heated up.
Now 72, Snuka has more than a trial to contend with. His family revealed last month that he’s been diagnosed with stomach cancer.