Prosecutors say suspended Virginia Tech freshman linebacker Isimemen Etute beat a man to death after finding the victim was not a woman like he had been led to believe. Etute was charged with second-degree murder June 2 in connection with the May 31 beating death of Jerry Smith in Blacksburg, where Virginia Tech is located.
Smith, 40, died of blunt force injuries to the head, according to the Roanoke Medical Examiner’s Office.
According to WDBJ7, Etute first met the victim on Tinder in April, and they agreed to meet for oral sex. Smith’s dating profile identified him as a woman named “Angie,” according to Jimmy Turk, Etute’s attorney, and state prosecutors. Etute allegedly didn’t realize Smith was a man until they met again on May 31 at the victim’s apartment.
During their second encounter, after discovering his date’s gender, Etute allegedly became enraged and punched Smith several times in the head, knocking his victim to the ground. Smith did not fight back, according to Etute, even as he continued to beat him and stomp on his head. He also claimed to have heard a bubbling and gurgling sound just before fleeing the apartment without calling the cops.
According to the Blacksburg Police Department, officers discovered Smith after responding to a welfare check at his home around 10:30 p.m. ET on June 1. The death was ruled a homicide by investigators, and Etute was identified as a person of interest in the case hours after the discovery of Smith’s body.
Etute, 18, was a human development major at Virginia Tech and a member of their 2021 football recruiting class. He was immediately suspended from the football team after news broke.
Etute was released on a $75,000 bond, after a Judge determined he wasn’t a danger to society. He is required to live with his family, in Virginia Beach, and wear an ankle monitor.