Former Virginia Tech linebacker Isimemen Etute was found not guilty on second-degree murder charges in Montgomery County Circuit Court in the death of Blacksburg resident Jerry Smith. Etute faced five to 40 years in prison if convicted.
Etute matched with Smith on the dating app Tinder as the male Smith, 40, falsely posed as a 21-year-old woman named “Angie Renee” in an attempt to have encounters with straight college-aged men. The Virginia Beach native went to Smith’s apartment and received oral sex in April 2021. Two other Virginia Tech players reported matching with “Angie” on Tinder, but left Smith’s apartment after feeling uncomfortable, according to ESPN.
One month later, Etute returned to the apartment to learn if “Angie” was lying about their gender. He entered Smith’s apartment alone and determined Smith was a man. Etute testified that Smith reached for a weapon under his bed, causing the 205-pound football player to punch and kick Smith several times. A knife was later found under the mattress.
Smith later died of his injuries and was found two days later by authorities. Every bone in his face was broken, and he had multiple teeth missing. The incident was initially investigated as a hate crime, according to unsealed documents.
Etute was arrested in June 2021 and charged with second-degree murder after police connected him to the incident. Two other teammates accompanied Etute to the apartment, but did not go inside and were not charged with crimes. Etute was suspended…