Jimmy Snuka's reckless decision to write a tell-all autobiography last year, in particular to discuss his latest version of the circumstances behind the mysterious death of his on the road girlfriend Nancy Argentino in his motel room in 1983, has now led to James B. Martin, the District Attorney of Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, deciding to take a fresh look at the case, according to freelance investigative reporter Irv Muchnick.
Muchnick is the main person for this story still having legs three decades after the incident, having written an excellent piece about it for New York's Village Voice in 1992. Though it wasn't published at the time, Muchnick later posted it on his website with a collection of his other writings, which eventually became the foundation of his 2007 book, WRESTLING BABYLON: Piledriving Tales of Drugs, Sex, Death, and Scandal. A couple of months ago, he published the e-book Justice Denied - The Untold Story of Nancy Argentino’s Death in Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka’s Motel Room in a collaborative effort with the Argentino family to tell their side of the story and raise money for the My Sister’s Place battered women’s shelter in Westchester County, New York.
This led to two local newspaper stories on the anniversary of Argentino's passing by the Allentown Morning Call and Cherry Hill's Courier-Post, the site of the incident and the current home town of Snuka, respectively. Embarrassingly for the local police, although the District Attorney's office refused to release any documents related to the case to the Allentown Morning Call, their journalists found Argentino's autopsy and Snuka's initial police interview transcript in a federal archives warehouse in the state and the newspaper decided to publish these online for the world to see.
"Thirty years after Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka's mistress was rushed from the pro wrestler's Whitehall Township motel room with a fatal head injury, Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin said his office will "take a fresh look" at the case to decide if a grand jury investigation is warranted.
Despite having doubts about whether the case can be advanced three decades later, Martin confirmed Friday that he has asked Chief Deputy District Attorney Charles Gallagher to review the file on Nancy Argentino's death.
Once the review is complete, Martin, Gallagher and county Detective Gerry Procanyn, a former Whitehall detective who was in the motel room when Argentino was hurried to the hospital, will discuss "if there's anything to be gained by opening a grand jury investigation," Martin said....
Martin said he decided to revisit the case after receiving a letter from Argentino's two sisters and speaking with one of them, Louise Argentino-Upham, on Thursday.
While he promised to revisit the case, Martin said he didn't want to build any false expectations. Martin, who was not district attorney at the time of the investigation, has doubts that "there's anything to be gained" by taking a new look at the case because "quite frankly, it's all been done," he said.
"It hasn't improved with age," Martin said of the case.
The Argentino family believes then-District Attorney William H. Platt had a solid case but failed to push the investigation further. Platt has previously said he doesn't think it's appropriate to discuss the case.
On Friday, the family said revisiting the case is an appropriate and logical step for Martin to take.
"When someone has conflicted stories like that and the girl has bruises all over her body ... come on, please," Argentino-Upham said.
It must be noted that the Argentino family had a strong enough case to win a $500,000 wrongful death lawsuit settlement against Snuka in 1985, which he never paid a dime of, due to the claim that he was broke and couldn't afford a legal defence at the time. Thus, their search for justice continues and given the DA's comments it seems that sadly they'll never get it, as my interpretation of his words and actions is that he's reluctant to open that Pandora's Box, but feels the need to look like he's doing something in order to placate the family.
In an article for f4wonline.com, Irv Muchnick claims that detective Gerry Procanyn lied to him in 1992 that Jimmy Snuka told only one version of events to him, the story that Nancy suffered a head injury by slipping on the roadside when she needed to urinate, which is contradicted by the recently released transcript of Procanyn's first interview with Snuka, and thus he needs to be pulled off the review of the case.
Similar to Jerry McDevitt's 2008 email response to Muchnick that "your insinuation that Mr. McMahon in some unspecified way kept authorities from charging Jimmy Snuka for murder in 1983 is an odious lie", James B. Martin has also given him a middle finger of a statement:
"Neither Mr. Gallagher [deputy Charles Gallagher] nor I will be commenting on your ridiculous and unfounded assertions."
Wow, they must be pissed! Personally, I think having someone who bungled the original investigation being involved in the review of the case is also ridiculous, but I guess personal relationships often get in the way of common sense.