Horrific details have emerged in the murder trial of Isimemen Etute, a Virginia Tech football player who is accused of killing a man who allegedly catfished him.
Etute’s attorney, Jimmy Turk, shed more light on the deadly incident during a court hearing Wednesday, about a week after the 18-year-old athlete was charged with second-degree murder in connection to the death of 40-year-old Jerry Smith. According to WDBJ7, the lawyer claimed Etute had first connected with the victim via Tinder back in April, when they agreed to meet up for oral sex. Turk and state prosecutors say Smith’s dating profile indicated he was a woman named “Angie”; however, Etute allegedly didn’t realize Smith was a man until they met again at the victim’s apartment on May 31.
Prosecutors claim Etute became outraged during their second encounter and punched Smith five times in the head, causing the victim to fall to the ground. Etute reportedly told investigators Smith did not fight back during the encounter, even as he continued to beat him and stomp on his head. He also claimed to have heard a bubbly and gurgling noise right before he fled the apartment without calling the police.
Officers reportedly discovered Smith’s body in his residence on June 1. The medical examiner ruled the cause of death as blunt force to the head. Etute was arrested just hours after authorities found a lifeless Smith with a fractured skull and missing teeth.
“Nobody deserves to die, but I don’t mind saying, don’t pretend you are something that you are not,” Turk said in court, as reported by TMZ. “Don’t target or lure anyone under that perception. That’s just wrong.”
During Wednesday’s hearing Etute pointed out he has no criminal history and had graduated from high school early so that he could play for Virginia Tech at the top of 2021. He has since been suspended from the football team, and was granted a $75,000 secured bond Wednesday, after the judge determined he was not a flight risk.
Etute is expected to return to court on Sept. 23 for a preliminary hearing.