Athlete Exonerated After Murdering Tinder Hookup Posing as a Woman

Isimemen Etute, an erstwhile Virginia Tech football player, was cleared on Friday for killing a man he misidentified as a woman after a disastrous Tinder encounter. 

Decision

The jury acquitted Etute, 19, of second-degree charges of murder for the murder of 40-year-old Jerry Smith in 2021.

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The jury found Etute acted in self-defense after Smith appeared to reach for an object near his bed, where authorities later found a knife. 

“I believe he earned the right to return to school and advance his academic and athletic career,” Etute’s attorney James Turk said following the ruling, as reported by ESPN.

“I believe the school that accepts him will gain a significantly wiser, more intelligent, and a great athlete.” 

Etute allegedly went crazy on his “Tinder date” after realizing he was a man.

According to the New York Post, the fact that Etute weighed almost 50 pounds more than Smith placed doubt on the assumption that Smith was reaching for a weapon since Smith did not present a physical danger to Etute. 

Per the Associated Press, Montgomery County Senior Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Patrick Jensen described his weight and height advantage as “significant.” 

According to trial testimony, Etute and Smith met for the first time on Tinder in April 2021. On April 10, Smith posed as a woman named “Angie Renee,” and the two met.

According to accounts, he originally left the meeting, due to worries that Smith was covering his face and keeping the room dark. However, he subsequently returned and got oral sex and a $50 gift from Smith. 

The Details

Etute’s teammate visited Smith’s flat on May 31, but left after feeling uneasy about the situation.

According to additional sources, Etute and two of his friends returned to Smith’s residence later that day to determine Smith’s gender.

Etute went into the apartment alone while his teammates waited outside. After Etute “felt around” to discern Smith’s gender, Smith grabbed him, prompting Etute to hit him, the former linebacker asserted.

According to Etute, he felt Smith was attempting to grab for a weapon such as a gun, and as a result, he struck him several more times. As he went, he admitted to stomping on Smith’s face. 

According to the accounts, Etute admitted he did not notice the knife at the time, but police investigators later located it under the mattress.

A medical examiner ruled the former Virginia Tech student fractured nearly all Smith’s facial bones and caused a brain hemorrhage. 

The jurors deliberated for three hours on the case before delivering a verdict. 

Last year, Etute was expelled from Virginia Tech and the football team after charges were brought against him by prosecutors. His attorney suggested Tinder users learn a lesson from the incident. 

“It should serve as a wake-up call not only for college players, but for all young people who utilize these social media sites,” he said. “They can be incredibly beneficial, but also incredibly deadly.”

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