BLACKSBURG, Va. - A Virginia Tech linebacker allegedly beat a 40-year-old man to death after agreeing to a date on Tinder – and then discovering he was a man, prosecutors said on Wednesday.
Montgomery County General District Court Judge Randal Duncan set a secured bond of $75,000 for Isimemen Etute, 18, of Virginia Beach, but he will remain in jail after prosecutors filed an expedited appeal, news outlets reported. Etute, who is charged in the death of 40-year-old Jerry Smith, was set to be released to live with his family. His release is on hold for up to five days, but the appeal may be heard Thursday or Friday.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Jason Morgan argued against bail, revealing details about the case from Etute's statements to police. Etute said he visited Smith's apartment in April after he was matched with someone named "Angie" on Tinder, but when he returned on May 31, he discovered his match was a man, prosecutors said, citing police statements. Etute told police he punched and stomped Smith and heard gurgling as he left, but didn’t call police. The medical examiner’s office had previously revealed that Smith died from blunt force trauma to the head.
Etute’s mother, Michelle, testified that her son had never been in trouble and was not a flight risk. His attorney, Jimmy Turk, said his client graduated from high school early to start at Virginia Tech in January. Etute is on suspension from the school and its football team during the investigation.
Smith’s family attended the hearing and a dozen football players, most in Virginia Tech gear, were there to support Etute.
Duncan acknowledged the seriousness of the allegations, but said there was no evidence that Etute wouldn’t appear for trial or posed a danger to the community.