Former Virginia Tech football player found not guilty of murder to play for Iowa community college

Jury finds former Virginia Tech football player not guilty in murder of Blacksburg man

A former Virginia Tech linebacker who was found not guilty of second-degree murder in the 2021 death of a 40-year-old man is set to transfer to Iowa Western Community College, his lawyer told ESPN on Monday.

Some may say it’s a new start for Etute, both academically and athletically, as he readies himself for the 2022 season.

The enrollment process wasn’t an easy one given that many Division I schools weren’t willing to offer Etute a scholarship following the trial, according to his attorney, James Turk.

In June 2021, Isimemen Etute was accused of fatally beating 40-year-old Jerry Smith, of Blacksburg, after discovering Smith wasn’t who he had claimed to be.

Etute said he had been visiting Smith’s apartment after he matched with a woman named “Angie” on Tinder on April 10, 2021.

The two eventually had a sexual encounter. But at the time, he had not realized that Smith, who had been posing as a woman under the alias “Angie,” was a man and not a woman.

On May 2021, Etute returned to what he thought was Angie’s home. When he realized that Angie was actually Smith, he punched him several times and stomped on him, according to authorities.

Etute testified that not only did he feel “violated” but he also feared for his life, stating that Smith reached for what he thought was a gun. In court, the defense revealed that police found a knife between Smith’s box spring and mattress.

On May 29, 2022, a jury found Etute not guilty of second-degree murder.

After the trial, Turk said that Etute now had his life back and could once again, go after his dream of playing football.

“I’m happy Isi[memen] will not be wearing an ankle bracelet anymore,” said Turk.

In addition, three additional Virginia Tech players who testified at Etute’s trial have also transferred from the school, ESPN reports.

Jordan Brunson and Jalen Hamptom have left for Miami (Ohio) and Elon, while Da’Shawn Elder remains in the transfer portal.


About the Author:

Jazmine Otey joined the 10 News team in February 2021.