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Tinder-related Blacksburg murder case will go to grand jury

Isimemen Etute in court for a preliminary hearing.
Isimemen Etute in court for a preliminary hearing.(Pool)
Published: Sep. 23, 2021 at 12:33 PM EDT
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BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - A Montgomery County grand jury will consider a second-degree murder charge against a former Virginia Tech football player who allegedly killed a man he matched with on the dating app Tinder.

At a preliminary hearing on September 23, 2021, a judge certified the murder charge against Isimemen David Etute to a grand jury, which will meet in October. The grand jury will determine whether Etute will be tried in circuit court.

Etute is accused of killing Jerry Smith on Memorial Day 2021.

Smith had allegedly posed as a woman named ‘Angie’ on Tinder and matched with Etute on April 10. The two had a sexual encounter.

Three Blacksburg Police detectives testified at the preliminary hearing, each adding details to Etute’s encounter with Smith on May 31.

Witnesses testified saying the purpose of Etute’s May 31 visit was to determine if Smith was a man or a woman. While at Smith’s apartment, Etute discovered Jerry had been posing as ‘Angie‘. Allegedly, Etute punched Jerry in the face and left the apartment without calling 911.

The detective described the scene, and the defense revealed a knife was found between the mattress and the box spring of Smith’s bed.

Etute and Smith both had family and friends in the courtroom for the hearing. One close friend of Smith stormed out of the courtroom during the final witness testimony.

After the hearing, Smith’s family and friends waited for Etute’s family, friends, and attorney outside the courthouse.

“What they said in there – I know it is a lie because Jerry would not hurt a flee. He was the kindest guy around,” said Jerry Smith’s aunt, Doris May.

“He is one of the best people I have ever met,” said Nataline Jones, a longtime friend of Etute.

“Always puts a smile on your face, lights up the room, talented football player—deserves the world,” said Deme Malbon, a longtime friend of Etute.

Emotions also escalated and there was a brief moment when a close family friend of Smith screamed, “He did not deserve to die.”

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