Isimemen Etute, a former University of Virginia Tech football player, was found not guilty on Friday of the charge of fatally attacking a man. Etute claimed he had met the victim on Tinder and confused him for a woman. Isimemen Etute, a former football player, was tried for the second-degree murder of Blacksburg resident Jerry Smith, 40, in the circuit court of Montgomery County and declared not guilty after three days of deliberation. The jury discussed for almost three hours before reaching a judgement at about 6:30 pm. Many news outlets also noted that Smith’s relatives left the courtroom in a hurry once the decision was read. The prosecutor, Montgomery County Chief Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Patrick Jensen, refused to comment and sent all inquiries to his superior, Commonwealth’s Attorney Mary Pettitt.
Why is pro athlete Isimemen Etute accused of attacking a Blacksburg resident?
Isimemen Etute fell victim to an internet catfishing scam in which he was led to believe he was having oral sex with a lady called “Angie.” After using the phone’s flashlight in the dark apartment, he learned that the mysterious inhabitant was Jerry Paul Smith. He said Smith gave him $50, and he checked Smith’s place of abode again to see if he was a woman. When Etute discovered that Smith was not who he claimed to be, he became furious. In court, he said he struck and kicked Smith five times because he thought the latter was reaching for a gun. The police found a knife hidden beneath Smith’s mattress, but prosecutor Patrick Jensen said Smith could not reach it. Jensen claims that Etute heard “bubbling and gurgling” coming from Smith, but he did not notify the police about it.
Isimemen Etute’s claims and case info
On Thursday, Isimemen Etute said that Smith grabbed for a weapon, which Etute believed to be a handgun. The investigators said that although Smith did not have a gun, they found a knife between his bed and box spring. Etute hit Smith five times to buy him time to leave the house. Jensen claims that Etute’s actions were not justified by self-defense. Once Etute assaulted him, he said, “no way” Smith could have reached beneath the bed to get a weapon. In Jensen’s account, Etute was sporting a pair of flip-flops during the mishap.
The prosecution noted that such shoes belonged to a ‘large guy’ and a ‘powerful person.’ Smith, who weighed 153 pounds, was likened to Etute, an “outstanding collegiate athlete.” After Smith’s deceitful behaviour towards him, the former Virginia Tech athlete expressed his feelings of being assaulted. During closing arguments on Friday, one of the prosecutors argued that Isimemen Etute presented various descriptions of events to police and the jury and that the charge may have been enough for him to amend his testimony. Etute had just turned 18 when the event occurred, and he was a student at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia, at the time.