On June 1, Isimemen Etute was arrested and charged with second-degree murder in connection with the death of Jerry Smith a day earlier.
A now-suspended Virginia Tech football player told police he punched a sexual partner five times in the face and stomped on him after discovering the person he thought was a woman was actually a man, according to arguments presented Wednesday in a Montgomery County courtroom.
Etute told police that on April 10, he matched with Smith on the dating app Tinder, where Smith was posing as a woman under the alias “Angie,” according to Montgomery County Commonwealth’s Attorney Mary Pettitt.
When the two later met and engaged in sexual activity, Etute did not know that Smith was a man, according to Etute’s attorney Jimmy Turk.
On May 31, Etute went over to what he thought was Angie’s home and when he found out that Angie was actually Smith, he punched Smith five times before Smith fell to the ground and then punched him at least five more times and stomped on him, according to Pettitt.
According to the autopsy, all the bones in Blacksburg resident Jerry Paul Smith’s face were broken, his teeth were missing, and multiple cranial fractures. The medical examiner’s office had previously revealed that Smith had died from blunt force trauma to the head
Etute also told authorities that Smith did not fight back.
Etute also admitted that he heard a bubbly and gurgling noise after the incident and said he ran out of the home without calling the police, according to Pettitt.
The medical examiner ruled Smith’s cause of death as blunt force to the head.
“I’m not saying what happened was acceptable, but this was more than someone just showing up to an apartment and punching someone,” defense attorney Turk told the court.
Turk expanded on that point outside the courtroom.
“Nobody deserves to die, but I don’t mind saying, don’t pretend you are something that you are not,” Turk told reporters. “Don’t target or lure anyone under that perception. That’s just wrong.”
The judge granted Etute, who has no prior criminal record, a $75,000 secured bond because he met all the requirements to prove he’s neither a flight risk nor a danger to society.
While the Commonwealth initially appealed the judge’s ruling, Etute was granted bond later on Wednesday.
He’s now required to live with his parents in Virginia Beach and will not be able to leave the state. The order restricts Etute from returning to Montgomery County except to consult with his attorney or to attend court proceedings.