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Crime News

Ex-Virginia Tech Linebacker Indicted For Murder In Apparent Case Of Mistaken Gender

Virginia Tech linebacker Isimemen Etute was indicted in the murder of Jerry Smith, who he met on the dating app Tinder and believed was a woman. 

By Dorian Geiger
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A suspended Virginia Tech linebacker accused of the brutal beating death of a restaurant staffer was indicted for murder this week, according to local media outlets.

​​Isimemen David Etute, 18, was indicted on Tuesday by a Montgomery County grand jury on a second-degree murder charge in the killing of 40-year-old Jerry Smith, the Roanoake Times reported

The varsity football player allegedly beat Smith to death in April after meeting him on the dating app Tinder, having believed he was a woman.

In April, Etute met with Smith at his Blacksburg apartment, he told authorities, explaining that he’d gone to meet Smith to engage in oral sex after he he'd met someone named Angie on Tinder. He said that he returned to Smith’s apartment the following month to determine if his date was a man or a woman, attorneys and witnesses at earlier hearings said, the Times reported.

Under questioning, Etute allegedly told police that upon returning he had groped Smith to determine the man’s gender prior to pummeling him with his fists.

Isimemen Etute AP

The Blacksburg Police Department found Smith unresponsive at his home around 10:30 p.m. on June 1. Smith died from blunt force trauma to the head, according to the county medical examiner’s office. His death was subsequently ruled a homicide. 

Etute was released on a $75,000 secured bond and will be monitored electronically; he is required to live with his family in Virginia Beach.

The Virginia Tech Hokies suspended Etute after he was charged with murder. 

“The Virginia Tech and Town of Blacksburg communities are united in our shared concern for the welfare of all,” the school said in a statement in June. "Together, we denounce all acts of violence and stand together in support of one another." 

Etute, who is from Virginia Beach, had been majoring in human development prior to his arrest, university officials said. His next court hearing is scheduled for Nov. 18.