Virginia Tech Catfish Killing | Suspended Linebacker Indicted For Murder In Beating Death of Man Who Presented On Tinder As A Woman

Virginia Tech freshman linebacker Isimemen “Isi” David Etute, has been indicted on charges of killing a man who had presented himself as a woman online.

The beating death occurred when the two met for a second time after their earlier sexual encounter.

Catfish Killing

The 18-year-old was indicted last Tuesday by a Montgomery County, Virginia, grand jury on a second-degree murder charge.

Etute has a hearing before a Circuit Court on Nov. 18, where counsel will work out the case timeline.

He faces up to 40 years in prison, according to Virginia law. A second-degree murder conviction is punishable by up to 40 years in prison; however, the law states he must receive no fewer than five years.

What Happened?

According to The Roanoake Times, the killing happened on May 31, with Etute coming before the court on June 2. He is accused of killing Jerry Paul Smith, a 40-year-old restaurant project manager.

According to witness testimony in preliminary hearing, Etute told detectives he and Smith met through the Tinder app and met on April 10, when they engaged in oral sex, after which Smith paid him $50. However, Etute said he had believed Smith was a woman and not a man, based on being matched with someone named “Angie.”

The following month, on May 31, Etute, visited Smith’s apartment in downtown Blacksburg, Virginia. He intended to discover if Smith was male or female, detectives said he told them. The court heard in preliminary hearing testimony from a detective that Etute said he groped Smith to determine his gender, including using a flashlight to see Smith better in an apparently dark apartment.

According to reports, Etute began punching and then stomping Smith. Etute left the apartment to rejoin two friends who were waiting for him outside. Smith’s body was found the next day when police conducted a welfare check at his apartment.

The Aftermath

Currently, Etute is released on a $75,000 secured bond. His release came a week after being arrested, and he is under house arrest and electronic monitoring since then.

“I hope this terrible incident will make more real the jeopardy,” said Jim Best, regional coordinator for the Floyd chapter of PFLAG, to The Roanoke Times. “And the work we still have to do to prevent the kind of knee-jerk, irrational behavior that we’ve grown up with as males in our society.”

According to reports, Etute’s defense attorney Jimmy Turk said that the victim solicited Etute for sex.

“Nobody deserves to die, but I don’t mind saying, don’t pretend you are something that you are not,” Turk said to The Roanoke Times after Etute’s June courtroom hearing. “Don’t target or lure anyone under that perception. That’s just wrong.”

Shocking Rise In Hate Crimes

Attacks against the LBGTQ community have risen. According to the Human Rights Campaign, there has already been at least 43 transgender or gender non-conforming people fatally shot or killed by other violent means in 2021.

The Human Rights Campaign tracked a “record number of violent fatal incidents against transgender and gender non-conforming people” in 2020.

In total, 44 fatalities were tracked by the Human Rights Campaign. The number of murders has now benchmarked 2020 as the most violent year on the Human Rights Campaign record.

In 2019, Etute helped his Virginia Beach high school Frank W. Cox to a 6-5 record and a junior in a Virginia Class 5A first-round playoff appearance, according to 247sports.

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