Who is Ismemen Etute? Virginia Tech footballer, 18, beats man to death over Tinder catfishing
'Nobody deserves to die, but I don't mind saying, don't pretend you are something that you are not,' Etute's attorney stated
MONTGOMERY COUNTY, VIRGINIA: Virginia Tech linebacker Ismemen David Etute has been charged with the death of 40-year-old Jerry Paul Smith. Smith worked as the manager of Blacksburg restaurant. Etute had reportedly matched with Smith on Tinder, where the latter posed as a woman named Angie. The two first met on April 10, 2021, when they had oral sex with Etute being unaware of the fact that Smith was a man in reality.
Later, the Virginia Tech freshman discovered the truth when they met again on May 31, 2021, at Smith's apartment. Enraged, Etute landed blows on Smith and punched him on the face five times. As he fell to the ground, he punched him five more times, before stomping on him till he died. Smith's body was discovered by Blacksburg police on June 1 in his apartment. The autopsy report has revealed blunt force trauma to the head as the cause of Smith's death. In fact, all the bones in his face were found broken and even his teeth were missing. Instances of catfishing can often turn fatal. Belinda Lane, a helpless California mother catfished her daughter's killer on MySpace for revenge. In another case, a Pennsylvania woman catfished 16-year-old boy using explicit photos of her teen daughter and then forced him to attempt suicide.
Who is Ismemen David Etute?
Etute had started his term at Virginia Tech in January 2021 after graduating early from his high school. He even went through spring camp with the Virginia Tech football team, reported The Roanoke Times. Presently, he has been suspended from the team and the institute following the murder. His court hearing was attended by many of his teammates on Wednesday, June 9, 2021.
According to his mother, Etute was a model student at school and was never known to be involved in any trouble. She further added that he would take care of his 15-year-old younger sister with Down's Syndrome. He has three siblings and shares a strong bond with his family.
Following Smith's murder, the 18-year-old was arrested on June 2 and charged with second-degree murder. The police revealed that Etute reportedly heard Smith 'bubbling and gurgling' in extreme pain but he chose to leave the apartment and did not call the police.
Etute's attorney Jimmy Turk said, "Nobody deserves to die, but I don't mind saying, don't pretend you are something that you are not. Don't target or lure anyone under that perception. That's just wrong." Turk, grew emotional during his argument on Etute’s behalf, saying that he has never been in trouble before and would not be a flight risk.
“I’ve tried more than 100 murder cases in my lifetime, and normally I don’t even ask for bail,” Turk told the judge. “If there’s ever been a time for someone to be considered for bail, this is it.”
He was released on a $75,000 bond on June 9. Etute is not a flight risk and, due to the unique nature of the alleged crime, is not a risk to the community. Etute, who will be under the supervision of his mother and father in their temporary home in Williamsburg before they move into a house in Virginia Beach in July, cannot leave the state, can have no contact with Smith’s family, can only go to Montgomery County for court appearances or to meet with his attorney and will be subject to house arrest and electronic monitoring by pretrial services.
Meanwhile, Jerry Smith's family mourned his death and remembered him as a "polite young man throughout his life". The Daily Mail reported that he lived as a man in his daily life, at work or with his family and also identified with male pronouns. However, he secretly operated multiple social media accounts where he posed as a woman named 'Angie'.