CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. – A former Virginia Tech football player made another court appearance Monday before trial begins in two days.
Defense attorneys want witnesses to testify anonymously in the trial for Isimemen Etute.
Etute was charged with second-degree murder in the May 31, 2021 death of a 40-year-old Blacksburg man, Jerry Smith.
His lawyers asked to have their witnesses testify anonymously because of the sensitive nature and personal matters.
However, the prosecution said there’s never been anonymous testimony for a criminal trial in Virginia.
The defense said if witnesses cannot testify anonymously about sexual acts then they will not testify in the trial. Etute’s lawyers argue without their testimony it would be prejudice against Etute’s trial.
Prosecutors argue anonymity would not allow a fair and impartial trial. The prosecutor also said it’s unfair for witnesses to testify now since Jerry Smith is dead and cannot defend himself.
While the judge understood sensitivity, he said the public has the right to hear a fair and open trial and struck down the motion for anonymity.
The gay panic defense was also brought up Monday but no decision was made.
The motion was first introduced last week.
The jury trial is expected to start Wednesday at 9 a.m. at Montgomery County Circuit Court in Christiansburg.
10 News has covered this case extensively. Below are previous articles related to this case:
- Former Virginia Tech football player indicted on murder charge (Oct. 26, 2021)
- Cause of death in Blacksburg homicide ruled blunt force (June 4, 2021)