by Irvin Muchnick
The Allentown Morning Call reports the retirement of Gerald Procanyn, and appropriately notes his two-times involvement in the investigation of the death of Nancy Argentino, girlfriend of Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka, then the World Wrestling Federation’s most popular performer, in a motel room in the Allentown suburb of Whitehall. See https://www.mcall.com/news/police/mc-nws-lehigh-county-detective-retires-20190520-27blcno3cfgy5acw6rrykwf2yq-story.html.
The Morning Call story includes the predictable self-serving detail that its 2013 “cold case” article, raising questions about the original 1983 Whitehall police investigation, spurred reopening of the case and Snuka’s prosecution. Murder charges were dropped on grounds of mental incompetence weeks before Snuka died in 2017.
The Call doesn’t get around to the detail that, at no point in its 2013 account, did it mention that James Martin, the current long-time district attorney who now is running for reelection to his sixth term, was an assistant under the DA 30 years earlier, William Platt, who had whiffed on prosecuting Snuka.
Nor does the local newspaper probe the original shoddy work of Detective Procanyn. Nor does it point out, in this retirement article or elsewhere, that Procacyn spent the last 16 years of his career double-dipping — collecting a Whitehall retirement pension while he continued in the DA’s office. He got paid for his vested years of municipal employment, which had included blowing the Snuka case, while he also got paid a second time for county employment, which included pursuing the too-little-too-late bust of Snuka.
In 1992, on assignment for New York’s Village Voice, I did the first follow-up reporting on the porous Snuka case. The article later would be published online and as a chapter of my 2007 book Wrestling Babylon. In that piece, I documented how Procacyn lied to me by maintaining that Snuka had told a single consistent story and that the Argentino family had never complained. In fact — and as was easily established by multiple witnesses and even the reporter of the contemporaneous Morning Call coverage — Snuka offered multiple, wildly divergent versions of the circumstances of Nancy’s death, and the family commissioned two private investigations challenging the DA’s refusal to charge Snuka. The Argentinos also won a $500,000 judgment against Snuka in a U.S. District Court civil wrongful death lawsuit; Snuka never paid a dime of it.
This site has published many, many reviews of Procanyn’s lies. Use the search box on the left-hand side.