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Ex-football player acquitted of murder in beating of gay man who posed as woman during sex act

In June 2021, authorities arrested Virginia Tech Rookie football player Isimemen Etute on suspected murder charges. The charge was against 40-year-old Jerry Smith, who was found beaten to death in his apartment. Near the end of last month, a jury acquitted him of those charges. These are the full details.

Virginia Tech Football Player Murder Charges

In the spring of 2021, rookie Virginia Tech football player Etute was, as many other college students do, swiping on the popular dating app Tinder. A straight man, his goal was to meet women. He matched and began chatting with a young woman named Angie Renee. Unknown to Etute, however, was that Angie Renee wasn’t Angie Renee: She was actually 40-year-old Jerry Smith. Smith identified as a gay man. (1)

On April 10, 2021, the pair agreed to meet at Smith’s apartment for a sexual encounter. In the apartment, Smith performed oral sex on Etute, still, Etute was unaware that Smith was a man. Later, however, Etute began to suspect that something was amiss. On May 31 he returned to the apartment with two teammates, but went inside alone. (2)

Upon discovering that Smith was a man, Etute became enraged. He punched the man five times in the head and kicked him once there as well. Etute says he did this to give him more time to leave the apartment. Smith succumbed to the beating, where the authorities found him dead in his apartment on June 1st. The medical examiner determined he had died of blunt force trauma to the head. It was later discovered that it was Etute who did it.

Authorities indicted Etute for second-degree manslaughter. The judge then granted him a bond which allowed him to be on house arrest and electronic monitoring at his parents’ house rather than in a jail cell. There he had to await trial.

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Not Guilty

The case went to trial last month, where attorneys weighed in as to who was the real victim in the scenario. The prosecuting attorney representing Smith used the testimony of the examining doctor, who said that Smith had suffered what she said was “a brutal beating”. The attorney argued that Etute is an elite athlete compared to the small, thin Smith, and that the force used was unnecessary.

Etute’s attorney, however, argued that Etute had acted in self-defense. Etute felt completely violated by Smith. The attorney said that Smith had been controlling the entire situation. Smith demanded that it be in the dark. They later discovered that Smith had a knife hidden under his mattress in case something went “awry”. He described Smith as a deceitful man who was “defrauding young men for his own sexual gratification”. In his closing remarks, he said tearfully:

“Who is the real victim here? This was a wicked, sexual ruse.”

The investigation into the case had also revealed that Etute was not the only person deceived by “Angie Renee”, and that Smith had been using this Tinder persona to try and win sexual exploits with other men, as well. (3) On the final day of the trial, May 27, 2022, the jury left the courtroom to deliberate. They debated for three hours before finally returning with their verdict. The court read the verdict allowed: Not guilty.

Free At Last

Etute celebrated first by bear-hugging his attorney. He tearfully left the courtroom with his equally emotional family members. Etute has been officially added back into the NCAA portal and will be transferring to a different school. According to NCAA rules, he will be eligible to play this fall. The representation for Smith and Smith’s family also left the courtroom shortly after the hearing. The declined to make any comments to reporters.

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  1. Ex-Virginia Tech football player acquitted of murder in beating of gay man who posed as woman during sex act.” Fox News.  Danielle Wallace .
  2. Former Virginia Tech football player to transfer schools after being acquitted of murder.” WFXR TV. Will Gonzalez, Colleen Guerry. June 6, 2022.
  3. Isimemen Etute’s murder trial starts Wednesday.” WFXR TV. Kim Yonick. May 24, 2022.