Isimemen Etute found NOT GUILTY of murder after he beat date to death after finding out he was a man

Isimemen Etute found NOT GUILTY of murder after he beat date to death after finding out he was a man
Etute was found not guilty in the 2021 death of his Tinder date, after his lawyer argued that he acted in self-defense (WAVY TV 10/YouTube screenshot)

CHRISTIANBURG, VIRGINIA: A former Virginia Tech football player has been acquitted after being accused of beating a Tinder date to death. Isimemen Etute, 19, was found not guilty in the 2021 death of 40-year-old Jerry Smith, after his lawyer argued that he acted in self-defense. After deliberating for three hours, a Christiansburg, Virginia, jury handed down the verdict.

Etute had said that he visited Smith last April to engage in oral sex after he allegedly matched with someone named 'Angie' on Tinder. Smith, who identified as an openly gay man, presented himself online as a 21-year-old emergency room physician. Smith performed oral sex on Etute in April 10, but in May, Etute returned to the apartment with two of his former teammates to confirm whether Smith was a man or woman. The sequence of events then led Etute to beat Smith to death. 


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Who is Isimemen Etute?

Etute was an Ivy Tech footballer who played as a linebacker. He was also an alumnus from Cox High School, and a first year recruit to Virginia Tech studying human turn of events. He attended spring rehearsals along with the football team and Virginia Tech also endorsed him in the 2021 nomination class. After being charged with murder, however, he was uspended by Virginia Tech and the Hokies football team. 

Earlier this week, Etute took the stand in his own defense. He said that he felt “violated” that his date lied about his gender. The defendant said Smith had insisted they meet in the dark. He said it seemed like Smith reached for a gun, following which Etute said he punched Smith five times and kicked him in an attempt to escape the apartment. “I felt violated,” Etute said. “I was just in shock, in disbelief that someone tricked me and lied to me.”

Police said that Smith did not have a gun but a knife was found by detectives under his mattress. Defense attorney Jimmy Turk said that he only acted in self-defense, but prosecutor Patrick Jensen argued that Smith was not in a position to get his knife. He also argued that Smith, a 153-pound man, was not a physical match for the “elite college athlete” who was listed as 6-foot-3, 205 pounds. “That’s a big disparity,” Jensen said.

Referring to Smith as a “deceitful and dishonest man”, Turk said through tears, "Who is the real victim here? This was a wicked sexual ruse.” “Who would be more to resort to violence? Who was more likely to be the aggressor? The man who hid the knife or this goofy, gullible kid,” Turk said.

Turk's family, who had developed a deep bond with a Etute family, attended much of the trial. Turk's daughter Katie was part of the defense team. Turk’s eldest daughter Lindsey claimed that his closing argument was the best speech she had ever heard.

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