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Virginia Tech football player charged with second-degree murder after body found in Blacksburg building

Body was found Tuesday night in downtown

Former Virginia Tech football player accused of murder appears in court
Former Virginia Tech football player accused of murder appears in court

BLACKSBURG, Va. – Blacksburg police have arrested an 18-year-old Virginia Tech football player in connection with the death of a 40-year-old man.

On Tuesday at 10:30 p.m., while officers were performing a welfare check in downtown Blacksburg at 119 N. Main Street they found a man who had died, according to the Blacksburg Police Department.

Investigators ruled the manner of death a homicide, identified Isimemen Etute, of Virginia Beach, as a person of interest and later charged him with second-degree murder.

Virginia Tech football player charged with 2nd-degree murder after body found in Blacksburg building
Virginia Tech football player charged with 2nd-degree murder after body found in Blacksburg building

Etute, a freshman linebacker and human development major at Tech, graduated from Frank Cox High School, enrolled at the university on Jan. 15, 2021, according to 247 Sports.

Police have identified the victim as 40-year-old Jerry Smith, of Blacksburg. Authorities report that he and Etute were acquaintances.

10 News interviewed Smith back in 2020 when he worked at various restaurants in the region, including Food Fanatics in Roanoke. He previously worked at the Black Hen in Blacksburg before he was let go in the last few months, according to the restaurant owner. The Black Hen is located just steps away from where police discovered his body, a mere 282 ft. away.

Etute was arrested on Wednesday and is currently being held at the Montgomery County Jail without bond.

He is now suspended from the football team, according to Virginia Tech. His profile on the team’s website has already been removed.

During arraignment in Montgomery County General District Court on Thursday, he appeared virtually from jail for 5 minutes.

Originally, Radford Vice-Mayor Naomi Huntington was to be Etute’s court-appointed attorney; however, on Friday, that was been changed to James C. Turk Jr.

Etute’s next hearing is scheduled for Sept. 23 at 9:30 a.m.

It’s currently unclear what led to the crime or how Smith died.

Anyone with information about this ongoing investigation is asked to contact police at 540-443-1400. Those wishing to remain anonymous can call the Blacksburg Police Tip Line at 540-961-1819 or by email ciu@blacksburg.gov.


About the Author:

Jeff Williamson arrived at WSLS 10 in March 2016.