Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka appeared in a Lehigh County, Pennsylvania coutroom on Friday for a competency hearing, where a judge will determine if Snuka is mentally fit to stand trial in the 1983 death of then-girlfriend Nancy Argentino. Friday’s hearing lasted four hours and will continue next Wednesday, according to The Morning Call. Snuka arrived to the courthouse and was met by a group of supporters.
Snuka’s attorneys called forensic psychologist Frank Dattilio, who testified that Snuka is a “shell of a man” whose brain is damaged beyond repair from his wrestling career, and that he’s suffering from dementia that is “worsening by the month.” The forensic psychologist also testified that tests show Snuka’s brain is shrinking, causing significant memory loss. It was said that Snuka does not understand what’s going on in court and doesn’t even remember his attorney’s name, and that the pressure of a trial would cause a “severe erosion” of his emotional state.
Prosecutors noted on Friday that Snuka did not start complaining of head trauma until after he learned he was being investigated. The District Attorney had Snuka’s medical record that show Snuka had an appointment with a concussion specialist on January 29th, 2014, which was a week after it was announced the case would be re-opened. Dattilio said Snuka doesn’t know how to read or write, and gets confused easily but prosecutors noted that Dattilio’s report said Snuka was able to answer questions about his relationship with Argentino.
Dattilio also testified that Snuka could not recall many of the injuries that led to his head trauma but he did recount the infamous Piper’s Pit segment with Roddy Piper, where Piper smashed a coconut on Snuka’s head. The psychologist said the coconut was supposed to be shaved thin on one end, to make it crack like an egg, but Piper used the wrong end. Video of the segment was played in court today by the prosecution, who also had fliers from charity events Snuka attended during times Dattilio said he was showing signs of dementia, including a 2012 poker game where Snuka won $100,000 for charity. Snuka’s lawyer argued that the fliers and video did not prove anything about Snuka’s competency to stand trial. Video from a May 2015 indie match in Rhode Island was shown but Snuka’s lawyer called it “fake” and pointed to how slowly and carefully Snuka climbed the ropes.
More witnesses are expected to be called on Wednesday but there’s no word yet on if Snuka will testify. The judge previously said he wanted to hear from Snuka but Snuka did not testify before the grand jury. He used the Fifth Amendment and refused to answer any questions. If the judge determines Snuka is mentally unfit to stand trial, the case may end up stalled indefinitely.
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