Doctor says WWE Hall of Famer capable of standing trial for 1983 girlfriend murder

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James Wiley Smith, known for years in the wrestling business as Jimmy 'Superfly' Snuka, is capable of standing trial for the 1983 murder of his then girlfriend Nancy Argentino, a doctor argued on Wednesday.

The claim, put forward by the prosecution at a competency hearing yesterday, contrasts with the argument made by the WWE Hall of Famer's defense team which, earlier this week, argued the 73-year-old Smith is suffering from dementia and is, therefore, not mentally fit to be tried.

The former wrestler was arrested in September 2015 on charges of third-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter - 32 years on from Argentino's body being found in the George Washington Motor Lodge in Allentown, Pennsylvania.


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Speaking for the prosecution, forensic psychiatrist John O'Brien told a judge in the Pennsylvania town that there was no evidence that head injuries suffered in wrestling or substance abuse had left him incapable of standing trial, as had been previously claimed.

O'Brien argued that, despite an in-ring career that lasted 40 years, Smith had never been diagnosed with a concussion, and that evidence suggesting "brain shrinkage" was a natural result of the Hall of Famer's age.

The claims come just days after Frank Dattilio - employed by the defense - stated that the ex-wrestler is now at a stage where he doesn't even know why he is in court after his brain has been left "damaged beyond repair from years of wrestling stunts".

Judge Kelly Banach is expected to announce her decision on whether Smith fill stand trial by the end of this week.

As Jimmy Snuka, the now 73-year-old was one of the biggest names in the wrestling business during the 1980s.

He won numerous titles across a number of promotions during his career and was named Pro Wrestling Illustrated's 'Wrestler of the Year' in 1983. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 1996.

The incident for which he could potentially be standing trial for occurred in May of 1983 when Smith was in Allentown to wrestle at the town's Agricultural Hall.

Argentino was found dead in a hotel room she had been sharing with Smith, having suffered more than a dozen cuts and bruises as well as a significant head trauma. Smith was the only suspect in the original investigation but no charges were pressed at the time.

Recently, his defense attorney has described the death as "an unfortunate accident...not murder".

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