According to prosecutors, a suspended Virginia Tech football player punched and stomped his Tinder game to death after learning the person was male.
Isimemen Etute, 18, of Virginia Beach, has been charged with second degree murder in connection with the death of Jerry Smith in Blacksburg, where Virginia Tech is located, police said earlier this month. Smith, 40, died of blunt head injuries, according to the Roanoke medical examiner’s office.
Officials initially said Etute and the victim were “acquaintances,” but new details in court on Wednesday revealed the two met on April 10 after meeting on the dating app Tinder, a. reported Roanoke’s NBC WSLS affiliate.
Etute told police Smith was posing as a woman under the pseudonym “Angie,” Deputy Commonwealth Attorney Jason Morgan said.
He had no idea Smith was male when the two met and had sexual activity when they first met at Smith’s apartment, according to Etute’s attorney Jimmy Turk.
On May 31, Etute returned to the victim’s residence where he discovered that “Angie” was in fact Smith, Turk said.
After the discovery, Etute punched Smith five times and stomped on his head after the victim fell to the ground, according to Morgan. He told authorities Smith did not retaliate and admitted he heard the sound of bubbles and gurgling after the incident, but did not call the police, Morgan said.
Officers found Smith after responding to a welfare check at his residence around 10:30 p.m. ET on June 1, according to the Blacksburg Police Department. Investigators ruled the death a homicide and then identified Etute as a person of interest in the case.
He was immediately suspended from the football team and from Virginia Tech, where he majored in human development, according to the school. Although Etute’s information is not on the football team’s website, the WSLS has reported that he is a first-year linebacker.
The Commonwealth appealed the judge’s decision to release Etute on $ 75,000 bail, but abandoned it after a judge determined the suspect was neither a flight risk nor a danger to society .
Under his bail terms, Etute is required to live with his family in Virginia Beach, according to Turk, who added that his next court appearance is scheduled for September 23. He is also required to wear an electronic ankle monitor while under house arrest, Montgomery County Commonwealth Attorney Mary Pettitt said.
Efforts to reach Smith’s family failed on Friday.