Prosecutors say suspended Virginia Tech linebacker Isimemen Etute beat a man to death after he discovered the victim was not a woman like he had been led to believe online.
Etute was charged with second-degree murder June 2 in the death of Blacksburg, Virginia, resident Jerry Smith. Etute, a member of Virginia Tech’s 2021 recruiting class, was suspended from the team after he was charged.
At a bond hearing on Wednesday, attorneys for the state revealed that Etute allegedly told police he punched and stomped Smith, 40, multiple times after he discovered Smith was a man. Etute had allegedly gone to meet up with someone he thought was a woman for a second sexual encounter at Smith’s apartment.
According to those police statements, Etute visited the victim’s apartment on April 10 for oral sex after he was matched up with someone named “Angie” on Tinder. Etute returned to the apartment May 31 to engage in sexual activity and discovered the person he was matched up with was a man.
Etute told the police he punched the victim five times in the face and continued punching them when the person hit the ground and “stomped” on them. He heard “bubbling and gurgling” as he left the apartment, but didn’t call the police.
Smith was found dead in his apartment two days later. According to the county medical examiner, Smith died from blunt force trauma to the head. Prosecutors said Wednesday that Smith was missing multiple teeth, had multiple skull fractures and every bone in his face had been broken.
Etute, 18, was an early enrollee from Virginia Beach and a two-star recruit in the class of 2021. After he was charged with murder, Virginia Tech released a statement that said it would continue to assist investigators as much as it could.
Etute was granted a $75,000 bond at Wednesday’s hearing and is allowed to live with family in Virginia Beach until his trial. Per media accounts from those at the hearing, multiple Virginia Tech players were in attendance.