Jimmy Snuka legal update – next competency hearing in June following third hearing

By James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor

Jimmy Snuka photo credit Wade Keller (c) PWTorch

UPDATE: The next hearing in Jimmy Snuka’s mental competency hearing is scheduled for June 21, reports the Morning Call.

The next court date will follow three days of hearings in mid-May trying to determine if Snuka is able to stand trial in the death of his 1983 girlfriend Nancy Argentino.

Snuka took the stand at the third hearing on Friday (May 20). However, no determination was made by Judge Kelly Banach on whether the case should continue to trial.

Judge Banach will take one month to review all of the information presented by both sides and perhaps have an answer on June 21.

MAY 20 UPDATE

Jimmy Snuka took the stand Friday in Pennsylvania court to help determine if he’s able to stand trial in the death of his 1983 girlfriend Nancy Argentino.

There was no resolution, though, after the third hearing, reports the Morning Call covering the trial. There will be at least a fourth hearing before Judge Kelly Banach makes a determination on Snuka’s mental state.

Judge Banach asked Snuka basic questions about his identity, ability to read and write, obtaining a driver’s license, where he lives, and other tests to see if she could gather more information before making a ruling.

Earlier in the week, Snuka’s defense team presented a doctor who said Snuka was unfit for trial because he is a “shell of a man.” Then, the prosecution presented a doctor who said Snuka is fit for trial, and his brain shrinkage is within the normal range for a man in his 70s.

On Friday, Judge Banach asked Snuka to take the stand despite his attorney, Robert Kirwin, disagreeing. Kirwin wanted a chance to speak privately with Snuka before he was questioned.

– Related to coverage of Snuka’s trial, wrestling author Irv Muchnick, who has been covering the central issue for three decades, talked to the show “Ottawa Today” about the back-story of the case.

MAY 18 UPDATE

Jimmy Snuka is competent enough to stand trial in the death of his 1983 girlfriend Nancy Argentino, according to a forensic psychiatrist called by the prosecution at Wednesday’s competency hearing in Lehigh County (Pa.).

Dr. John O’Brien testified that Snuka’s brain atrophy is within the normal range of someone in their 70s. He said he reviewed Snuka’s 2015 grand jury testimony and determined that Snuka was able to “hear, comprehend, and respond appropriately to questions,” reports the Morning Call.

Judge Kelly Banach said she will need to do further research on the evidence presented by both sides before making a determination.

Update: A third mental competency hearing is scheduled for Friday.

Another big aspect of Wednesday’s hearing reported by the Morning Call is testimony from Whitehall detective Gerald Procanyn, now a county detective. Procanyn noted that he and two other detectives interviewed Snuka following Argentino’s death in 1983.

Procanyn said the interview was recorded and the audiotape was placed in the Whitehall police station evidence room. However, the audio tape cannot be found. Whether or not it was lost when the police station moved locations in 1997 is unknown. “It is not there,” Procanyn said, noting he searched for the audio tape as recently as two days ago.

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.

(FULL CASE HISTORY FROM 2015 TO 2016)

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