On Tuesday, a grand jury handed down a second-degree murder indictment against suspended Virginia Tech linebacker Isimemen Etute who allegedly beat a male Tinder date to death after mistaking the man for a woman.
The 18-year-old Etute is alleged to have killed Jerry Smith, 40, who, police say, had some sort of relationship with the football player. Investigators believe Etute and Smith connected through Tinder and met up in April for oral sex with what he believed to be a woman. The Roanoke Times reports, via the investigation, that in May, Etute went back to Smith’s apartment with intent on finding out if in fact he’d engaged in oral sex with a woman.
“A detective testified at Etute’s preliminary hearing that the football player told investigators that on May 31, he groped Smith to try to determine his gender, used his phone’s flashlight to get a better look at Smith in the dark apartment, then began punching him,” the paper reported.
State prosecutors say in addition to punching Smith in the face, Etute “allegedly stomped on Smith with so much force that it broke every bone in his face.”
Etute, a 6’3, 205-pound freshman out of Virginia Beach, was a three-star recruit out of Frank Cox High School.
“Promise imma stay up out the way…imma be patient…,” Etute wrote on Instagram in April before the alleged murder.
Now he’s facing a murder charge that is punishable by up to 40 years and no fewer than five. Etute is currently free on a $75,000 bond and is under house arrest.
“If Tech’s coaching staff wanted to sign someone with a significant red flag, they would likely seek approval from athletic director Whit Babcock and university administration, according to a source familiar with the process,” The Roanoke Times reported in June. “A statewide court records search shows that Etute hadn’t been arrested or charged with a driving citation in Virginia prior to May 31.”