Grand jury to decide whether Virginia Tech linebacker will stand trial on second-degree murder charge

·2 min read

A grand jury will decide in October if the case against suspended Virginia Tech linebacker Isimemen Etute will go to trial.

Etute has been charged with second-degree murder in the death of Roanoke resident Jerry Smith. Etute is accused of beating Smith to death after he found out that Smith was a man. The two had met up for a consensual sexual encounter in April after meeting on Tinder and Etute allegedly went back to Smith's apartment in May to find out if he was a man or a woman. 

Per investigators, Smith had been posing as a woman named Angie on Tinder and paid Etute $50 for their April oral sex encounter. Etute went back to Smith's apartment on May 31 and, per police, was willing to have another encounter with Smith if he could confirm that Smith was a woman and not a man.

From the Roanoke Times:

As during his first visit, the multi-level apartment was only dimly lit and Angie seemed to be concealing her face, Hite said that Etute told officers. Etute groped Angie to “determine if this was a male or female,” the detective said.

After that, Etute used the light on his phone to illuminate Smith’s face in the dark apartment. When Etute saw facial hair, “he said he just started hitting him,” Hite said.

Smith's body was discovered days later by family members. He was 40 years old and his family said he was living in Roanoke as a proud openly gay man. 

The grand jury is set to decide on Oct. 26 if Etute's case will go to trial.

Etute is facing a second-degree murder charge because first-degree murder charges require proof of premeditation in Virginia. Etute's attorney has argued that the charge should be dropped down to involuntary manslaughter. 

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