Virginia Tech Football Player Charged With Killing Tinder Date After Learning Match Was A Man
Blacksburg Police Dept.

A Virginia Tech freshman football player has been charged with second-degree murder in the killing of a 40-year-old man who apparently misled about being a male when the pair matched on hook-up site Tinder.

Isimemen Etute, 18, matched with Jerry Smith on the site and went to his apartment. When the athlete found out Smith was a man, he allegedly beat him before leaving on May 31, according to court documents.

Smith, who according to his family is a physically small, openly gay man, died of blunt force trauma.

The Associated Press reported:

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 during a hearing Wednesday, 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 was granted bond last week.

“Prosecutors initially filed an expedited appeal that would have kept the 18-year-old from Virginia Beach in jail for up to five more days but agreed to his release once the two sides settled on conditions,” according to the AP report. “Etute, who is charged with second-degree murder in the death of 40-year-old Jerry Smith, was released on a $75,000 secured bond under house arrest and electronic monitoring.”

Etute has been suspended from the VaTech team while law enforcement conducts an investigation.

A Radford lawyer named Jimmy Turk is now representing Etute in the case, which he called “heartbreaking.”

“Turk said that he deplored any apparent killing, but that his client seems to be an exceptional young man who came to Virginia Tech on a full scholarship and had never been a problem for anyone before,” reported

“We are so at a loss at everything that’s going on,” said a spokesperson for Smith’s family, who requested anonymity.

“There are horrible stories out there. At the end of the day, no matter what he did or didn’t do, nobody deserves what he got. Whatever happened gives nobody the right to react that way. I’m sorry, it just doesn’t.”

According to, “Smith has a lengthy legal history, with charges over the years in Montgomery, Loudoun and Fairfax counties, including driving under the influence, reckless driving, public intoxication and filing a false police report, as well as charges that were dismissed. But the family didn’t know anything about that, the spokesperson said.”

“We know nothing,” the family spokesperson reacted. “I’m going to be honest with you. We know nothing about that. There’s been nothing said to us about it by the police or anything.”

“He was so proud. Everybody knew he was a gay man. He did not like women. He was very proud of who he was.”

“Regardless of what he did, he did not deserve this,” the spokesperson added. “He was maybe 112 pounds soaking wet. He wasn’t a threat to nobody. He wasn’t a threat to a fly. He wasn’t a dangerous person. Nobody has a right to take someone’s life. Whatever happened should not have happened.”

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