“Superfly” Jimmy Snuka Death – Stomach Cancer

jimmy snuka murder

“Superfly” Jimmy Snuka dies at age 73. This photo was taken in 2011 (Paparazzo Photography)

1943-2017 (age 73)

Jimmy Snuka has died at age 73. He was battling stomach cancer and severe dementia.

Snuka’s abuse of alcohol, steroids, and cocaine were well documented in his 2012 autobiography. He was also tied to the suspicious death of his ex-mistress, which we document further below.

Jimmy Snuka’s daughter, Tamina Snuka, is part of the active WWE roster.

In his heyday, Superfly was on top of the world. He enjoyed a long career in professional wrestling, debuting all the way back in 1968.

superfly jimmy snuka

“Superfly” Jimmy Snuka makes a special appearance at WrestleMania V (1989). photo: wwe.com

Snuka would capture a number of titles in the NWA promotion, and by 1982 was wrestling for the WWF. He originally debuted as a heel under Captain Lou Albano. Despite the villainous gimmick, fans warmed up to Snuka’s high flying abilities, and he would eventually transition to a fan favorite. One of his most recognizable feuds was with the late great Rowdy Roddy Piper.

Fans watching the WWF in the mid 80s will no doubt recall the time Piper smashed Snuka in the head with a coconut… oddly enough this segment was recently referenced in court when Snuka’s attorneys were arguing that he suffered from severe brain damage and wasn’t fit to stand trial in the death of his ex-mistress… yeah, we’ll get to that part in a minute.

Despite all of his achievements in the ring, it’s unlikely Jimmy Snuka will be remembered for his storied career in wrestling. In recent years, the headlines that were following Snuka were far more controversial. We’re of course referring to the death of a woman named Nancy Argentino.

jimmy snuka murder case

Cold Case: Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka was charged with Nancy Argentino’s 1983 murder in Allentown, PA. photo: Alex Reed

The Events of Nancy Argentino’s Death

While there has always been debate about what exactly happened to Nancy Argentino on May 10, 1983, some basic facts have been confirmed. Jimmy Snuka and Nancy Argentino returned to the George Washington Motor Lodge hotel after a WWF taping at the Allentown, PA fairgrounds.

Paramedics were called to the scene, where Nancy was found unconscious. She was taken to the Sacred Heart Medical Center where she was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury. She was pronounced dead early the following morning.

Initial Investigation and Autopsy Findings

nancy argentino motel

The Allentown, PA motel where Nancy’s unconscious body was found. photo: The Morning Call

The coroner who examined Nancy Argentino’s body concluded that she had been struck in the head by a heavy object and that she had dozens of fresh cuts and bruises consistent with domestic abuse.

Jimmy Snuka was investigated by Allentown police. Snuka gave several varying accounts of what took place, including that he struck Nancy and she fell and her head on concrete. He also claimed that she slipped and hit her head while going to the bathroom at a rest area. Snuka further added that he had never been abusive toward Nancy, although police reports contradict this.

Nancy Argentino grave

Nancy’s grave in Green-Wood Cemetery – Brooklyn, NY. photo: Bob Collins

A police report prior to Nancy’s death shows the couple did in fact have a violent past, notably a separate hotel incident in Salina, NY. That incident involved Snuka dragging Nancy by the hair, with nine police officers needed to handcuff him. This was mid January 1983, just four months before Nancy turned up dead.

Despite the circumstances, bafflingly, Snuka was not charged for Nancy’s death. The court did however, allow the case to remain open.

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Civil Suit

Although criminal charges were not initially brought against him, Nancy’s parents did win a $500,000 civil lawsuit against Snuka in 1985.

Nancy’s sisters proclaim that the family never saw a dime of that money.

Snuka’s 2012 Autobiography Inspires Nancy’s Sisters to Get Case Re-Opened

jimmy snuka nancy argentino

Jimmy Snuka and Nancy Argentino in the early 80s. photo: The Morning Call

After the civil settlement with the Argentino’s, little was publicly spoken about Nancy’s death. That changed in 2012 when Snuka released his autobiography.

Nancy Argentino’s sisters, Louise and Lorraine Argentino, contacted the district attorney, pleading to give the case another look.

The DA listened.

Louise and Lorraine Argentino credit Snuka’s book release as their primary motivation to hound the DA; appalled and disgusted that Snuka painted himself as the victim in his autobiography.

Based on the evidence gathered, the case was brought before a grand jury in 2014 to decide whether or not Jimmy Snuka should be indicted.

Arrested in 2015: Jimmy Snuka Murder Charge

Ultimately, the grand jury concluded that there was sufficient evidence to charge Jimmy Snuka with the murder of Nancy Argentino. On September 1, 2015 an arrest warrant was issued. Snuka turned himself in, his ex-wife posting part of his $100,000 bond for release.

jimmy snuka superfly splash

Snuka hits a jobber with the “Superfly Smash” on a ’93 episode of Raw. photo: wwe.com

Snuka was facing charges of third-degree murder and manslaughter.

A preliminary hearing was held on October 7, 2015.

Snuka’s attorney claimed that he was suffering from dementia, brought on from years of head injuries in the wrestling ring. The attorney argued that Snuka was not fit to stand trial. The judge ruled that the case would be revisited in six months, at which time they would reevaluate Snuka’s health.

To raise money for his defense, Snuka’s grandchildren started a Go Fund Me campaign; hopeful that Snuka’s fans would be willing to contribute money to pay for his legal team. Fans were not interested. Ultimately the crowd funding campaign was unable to raise more than a few hundred dollars and has since been deleted from the website.

Case Dismissed in January 2017

On January 3rd, 2017, less than two weeks prior to Jimmy Snuka’s death, the murder trial was dismissed. The judge ruled that Jimmy Snuka did not have the mental capacity to stand trial due to him suffering from severe dementia, as well as terminal cancer.

Superfly hits Don Muraco with an iconic splash off the top of the cage

Do you think Jimmy Snuka is responsible for Nancy Argentino’s death? Do you think his career is now overshadowed by the incident? Sound off in the comments section below.