Wrestlers Who Were Charged With Murder

The wrestling world isn't all just great matches and drama in the ring. There have been real-life instances that have put wrestling stars behind bars for the unthinkable – murder of varying degrees. From the alleged crimes to charges to even some getting off without any real consequence like jail time, there has been a list of instances within the worldwide wrestling sphere. 


Some of these crimes have made it to mainstream media, and others have been the subject of Vice's "Dark Side of the Ring" and even Netflix documentaries. Some of these alleged murders have happened as recently as within the last few months, and others are a stain on the history of some promotions. From the likes of Jimmy Snuka to lesser-known names like D.T. Porter, we're taking a look at some of these wrestlers who have been charged with murder throughout the years.


The most recent case of an alleged murder in the professional wrestling world involves former WWE star Billy Jack Haynes, age 70, who was arrested at the end of February following a hospital stay, and accused in connection with his wife's murder. The real-life William Albert Haynes Jr. was taken to the hospital for an unrelated issue after a two-hour standoff in Portland, Oregon that caused the entire neighborhood to have to shelter in place. When police were finally able to get into his home, they found Haynes' 85-year-old wife dead following an apparent shooting. Haynes was officially charged with second-degree murder and unlawful use of a weapon when he was released from the hospital. In the days that followed the death of Haynes' wife, WWE Hall of Famer Jake "The Snake" Roberts said on his podcast that he wasn't surprised by Haynes' arrest, and always felt like Haynes "had some nuts loose," and that he never "felt safe around him."


Haynes has previously admitted to witnessing the brutal murders of three boys who were then left on railroad tracks in Arkansas in 1987, a case that remains unsolved today. According to Haynes, he was involved in drug trafficking when he witnessed the murders, which is why he did not come forward until 2018, as he was wrestling for WWF at the time. Before wrestling for WWF, Haynes worked on the territories starting in the 80s, wrestling for WCCW and the NWA. He also wrestled in WCW, as an executioner character named Black Blood. Haynes retired from professional wrestling in 1996. In the 2000s, he helped spearhead the massive class action lawsuit against WWE, regarding the company's failure to protect its stars from traumatic brain injuries. The case was dropped in 2016.



One of the most infamous cases of alleged murder occurred in WWF and then WWE, when Jimmy Snuka was charged in the 1983 death of his girlfriend. Snuka was arrested in Pennsylvania in 2015, and charged with third-degree murder, as well as involuntary manslaughter in the death of Nancy Argentino. Snuka was sent to county jail and posted $100,000 bail. Argentino's case had previously been cold but was re-opened following an investigation in 2014.


Argentino was found dead in a hotel room on May 10, 1983, in Pennsylvania. Snuka was wrestling nearby and when he returned, he allegedly found his girlfriend injured, struggling to breathe and oozing fluid from her nose and mouth. Snuka called emergency services, but Argentino, who was just 23 years old, died within hours. Snuka told investigators that Argentino slipped and struck her head near a guardrail. Investigators said Snuka had been initially cooperative throughout the investigation, but that his boss, Vince McMahon, served as his mouthpiece.

When the case was reopened in 2014 and the autopsy report was revealed, a forensic pathologist indicated Argentino's death should be investigated as a homicide. The report revealed Argentino died of traumatic brain injuries sustained 12-24 hours before an ambulance was called. A coroner had also indicated signs of foul play. In 2015, Snuka pleaded not guilty, and his competency to stand trial was questioned. His legal council argued that his condition, both physically and mentally, was worsening. In 2016, his attorney said Snuka was diagnosed with dementia and was "a shell of a man" due to his time in professional wrestling. Snuka was declared unfit to stand trial, and the charges against him were dismissed.


Like Haynes, Snuka was also involved in the class action lawsuit against WWE regarding negligence over "long-term neurological injuries." At that point in July 2016, Snuka was represented by his wife. Snuka died in January 2017 at the age of 73-years-old of a terminal illness. He had been in hospice care following a stomach cancer diagnosis in 2015.


D.T. Porter, also known as "The Future," Donovan Ruddick, and Brian Michael McGhee in real life, was charged with first-degree murder in 2013 when he was 29 years old; he was accused of stabbing his 25-year-old ex-girlfriend at her apartment complex. The woman was pronounced dead at the scene of the crime, having been stabbed multiple times in her chest and neck. According to authorities, the pair had been broken up for around a year, but Porter continued to contact the woman. On the night of the crime, Porter was said to be parked outside of the victim's home before he approached her, stabbed her to death, then fled the scene. Porter was hospitalized following a car crash into a guardrail in Tampa, Florida, after deputies started to chase him into the next county. Porter was charged with first-degree murder when he was released from the hospital. Porter's public defender requested bail, but was denied by a Tampa judge.


Porter, a United States Navy veteran, was signed to a developmental contract with WWE in 2010 and wrestled through 2012, appearing in Florida Championship Wrestling. He was released from the company before the crime. After being let go, Porter posted, then deleted, a troubling Facebook status, saying, "I don't know how much longer I can handle this," and called every day a "constant struggle to keep my sanity." He said wrestling was all he ever wanted to do. In the post, he mentioned having day dreams of "f****** everyone up on some real s***," and said he was at the point of where he would keep vodka and gin in the trunk of his vehicle.


Jose Gonzalez, who wrestled under the name "Invader #1," is infamous for his involvement in the stabbing death of fellow wrestler Bruiser Brody in a locker room in Puerto Rico. The alleged murder happened in 1988 when Gonzalez was working behind the scenes on the show. Gonzalez ended up being acquitted of the charges brought against him in 1989, after a jury ruled he acted in self-defense. The knife used in the stabbing was never recovered.


Dutch Mantel witnessed the stabbing and said that because no one was at Gonzelez's trial on behalf of Brody, that's why he was acquitted. Mantel and Tony Atlas were both called to testify in the trial, however, their subpoenas did not arrive to until 10 days after Gonzalez's trial ended. Mantel has said previously he sensed "tension in the air" that night when he followed Brody into the locker room. He said he was told by a doctor on the scene that the knife had punctured one of Brody's lungs. He said by the time paramedics arrived, it had been 25 minutes since Brody had been stabbed. He said he witnessed Gonzalez leave the locker room, walk around the injured Brody, and seemingly go home and change his clothing. Mantell said two surgeries were done at a Puerto Rican hospital on Brody that night, and the star died from loss of blood.


"He literally bled to death on the table during the second operation," he said, iterating that he believed if Brody had been in an American hospital, he would have survived.


Former Mexican wrestler Juana Barraza Samperio was sentenced to a total of 759 years in prison after being convicted of murdering 16 elderly women in Mexico City, beginning in the early 1990s. Barraza's prison time is the longest sentence ever in Mexican history for murder, and she is known as Mexico's first female serial killer. Barraza had wrestled as a luchadora known as "La Dama del Silencio," or, the "Lady of Silence." Many believe Barraza to only have been a "super fan" of lucha libre, socializing with wrestlers, but never competing in the ring herself. When she was arrested, she had wrestlers' business cards and receipts for ring rentals on her person.


Allegedly, she pretended to be a government nurse in order to commit the murders. She would bludgeon or strangle the elderly women before robbing them, and authorities believe Barraza was a psychopath. Barraza was caught in 2006, at 48 years old, as she fled the home of a victim she had strangled with a stethoscope. When caught, Barraza confessed to the recent murder but refused to be blamed for the others. She told authorities she killed due to lingering resentment toward her own mother. 

Barraza went to trial in 2008. During what became known as the "Mata-viejitas," or, "Little Old Lady Killer" trial, she confessed to three other murders. Though she was convicted for the killing of 16 elderly women, authorities estimate the number of victims ranged from 42 to 48 deaths. By the time the case was closed, there were still more than 30 unsolved cases. In addition to being the subject of many other television shows across the world, the murders were most recently the subject of a Netflix documentary, titled "The Lady of Silence: The Mataviejitas Murders," which debuted on the streaming service in July 2023.