Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka, a professional wrestling star in the 1980s, pleaded not guilty today to third-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter in the 1983 death of his girlfriend.
The 72-year-old Snuka appeared before Judge Kelly Banach in Lehigh County Court of Common Pleas in Allentown, Pennsylvania, according to a spokeswoman for District Attorney James Martin.
A native of Fiji who now lives in Camden County, New Jersey, Snuka was charged in September with killing his girlfriend Nancy Argentino, 23, of New York.
She was found dying of head injuries in a motel room they shared in Allentown in 1983 following a local appearance by the wrestler.
Decades after her death, the case was reopened after the publication of a previously unreleased autopsy report that labeled the death a homicide, according to the Morning Call newspaper of Allentown.
Snuka, who recently underwent cancer treatment, told the judge today that he never went to school, could neither read nor write English, and did not know where he was or what day it was, the newspaper reported.
The former World Wrestling Federation star was known for his wild man look and for climbing to the ring’s top rope and diving onto the chest of a prone opponent.
“Jimmy Snuka was one of the most popular figures in the WWF in the early to mid 1980s,” said Dean Dixon, host of HIACTalkRadio.com, an online channel devoted to professional wrestling.
Snuka remains free on $100,000 bail.