Virginia Tech linebacker Isimemen Etute accused of fatally beating man

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A freshman Virginia Tech linebacker charged with murder told cops he fatally beat a man – breaking every bone in his face – for catfishing him on Tinder, prosecutors said.

Isimemen David Etute, 18, told cops he went to the Blacksburg apartment of 40-year-old Jerry Smith in April for oral sex after matching up with someone named “Angie” on Tinder, the Roanoke Times reported.

Isimemen Etute in a booking photo.
Isimemen Etute in a booking photo.

Etute then returned to the apartment on May 31 for another meet-up, at which point he discovered the person he had matched up with this time was male, according to Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Jason Morgan, citing details the now-suspended linebacker told cops.

Etute told investigators he punched Smith five times in the face and “stomped” on him, but didn’t call police despite hearing “bubbling and gurgling” from the victim as he left the apartment. Cops found the badly beaten man’s body one day later, the newspaper reported.

The linebacker’s parents and sister attended Wednesday’s hearing, as well as a dozen Virginia Tech football players, most of whom were wearing team gear, according to the report.

An autopsy revealed Smith, a restaurant worker, died from blunt force trauma to the head. All of the bones in his face were broken and his teeth were also missing, the Roanoke Times reported.

Etute, who is charged with second-degree murder, was arrested on June 2. His attorney, Jimmy Turk, told a judge the case was “more than someone just showing up to an apartment and punching someone.”

Turk later addressed reporters outside of court.

“Nobody deserves to die, but I don’t mind saying, don’t pretend you are something that you are not,” Turk told reporters outside the courtroom. “Don’t target or lure anyone under that perception. That’s just wrong.”

At one point during Wednesday’s bond hearing, Turk reportedly asked Etute – clad in an orange prison jumpsuit – how he had been impacted by the charges.

“Real hard,” Etute said. “I’m trying to stay strong for the people that support me, I feel like I’ve let a lot of people down … I’m truly sorry for my actions.”

Etute was ordered released on $75,000 secured bond under conditions of house arrest and electronic monitoring, the Roanoke Times reported, citing Commonwealth’s Attorney Mary Pettitt.

Jerry Paul Smith was allegedly beaten to death by Isimemen Etute.
Jerry Paul Smith was allegedly beaten to death by Isimemen Etute.
Family handout

Etute, who will stay with his parents in Virginia Beach, is due back in court on Sept. 23, WJZY reported.

The linebacker’s team profile was not active Thursday. He was suspended from the squad last week.

Relatives of Smith, meanwhile, reportedly declined to comment after the hearing.

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