Why the Allentown Morning Call Is Part of the Jimmy Snuka Murder Story — In a Bad Way

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by Irvin Muchnick

I have twice emailed Adam Clark, former Allentown Morning Call reporter, with key new questions about the newspaper’s 2013 “cold case” package on the 1983 Jimmy Snuka-Nancy Argentino incident. Clark co-authored the piece with Kevin Amerman, now city editor of the Wilkes-Barre Citizen’s Voice. Clark is now with the Newark Star-Ledger.

Clark, who had previously corresponded with me, did not reply to this query:

“Why didn’t you make it clear that the current Lehigh County district attorney, James Martin, was first assistant D.A. in ’83? And are you sure he wasn’t at the June 1, 1983, meeting with Vince McMahon?”

It is becoming increasingly clear that the Morning Call story, which is rightly credited with nudging the authorities toward reopening the case — resulting in last month’s murder indictment of Snuka — produced problematic journalism that leaves unexplored how the WWE Hall of Famer got off scot-free for 32 years.

And to be clear, the problem goes well beyond any affront to my vanity over having been “big-footed” by the Morning Call and rather patronizingly credited in their stories for my own part in reversing the injustice of the original Chappaquiddick-style pass given Snuka in the violent death of his female companion.

The Clark-Amerman article should have noted the discrepancies my 1992 reporting for the Village Voice found in the work on the Snuka investigation of former Whitehall Township chief of detectives Gerald Procanyn, who is now in the D.A.’s office.

Another gap in the Morning Call coverage, just recently exposed, would be laughed out of any beginner journalism seminar: failure to note Martin’s own historical role in county law enforcement. The contempt for context and the instinct to protect a powerful local figure from obvious required scrutiny are breathtaking.

On September 22, I attempted to interest New Jersey Advance Media in a fuller Snuka case investigation. At the time, I was not aware that this company, which is affiliated with a number of media brands in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania, is the parent of the Star-Ledger. I wrote to NJAM’s Tim Darragh, the former investigations editor of the Morning Call who now wears a similar hat at the Star-Ledger.

“Of course both Adam and Kevin investigated [your] angle when they were on that story. They could not get anything on it,” Darragh sniffed.

Couldn’t? Or wouldn’t?

 

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The 2013 ebook, JUSTICE DENIED: The Untold Story of Nancy Argentino’s Death in Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka’s Hotel Room, annotates our original article and benefits a women’s shelter in Nancy’s memory. You can order the ebook for $2.99 on Amazon Kindle (http://amzn.com/B00CPTP6VM) or a PDF copy by email (send $2.99 via PayPal to nancyargentino@gmail.com). One hundred percent of the proceeds are donated by the Argentino family, in Nancy’s memory, to the women’s shelter in development at the Salerno, Italy, church Centro Evangelical dei Fratelli.

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