Trial of former Virginia Tech football player charged with second degree murder begins

Published: May. 25, 2022 at 7:05 PM EDT
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CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - The trial of former Virginia Tech football player Isimemen Etute began in court Wednesday.

Friends and family for both Etute and victim Jerry Paul Smith filled the courtroom to show support.

Etute has pleaded not guilty to second degree murder in the death of Smith. Smith was found dead nearly one year ago in his Blacksburg apartment.

During opening statements, the commonwealth and the defense alleged Etute and Smith met through a dating app called Tinder.

At the time, the defense alleges, Etute thought Smith was a woman and had a sexual encounter with a woman he thought was named Angie.

On the night of May 31, 2021, the commonwealth alleges, Etute and two friends went to meet up with Smith, whom he thought was Angie, to see if Angie in fact was a woman or a man.

That’s when the commonwealth claims Etute, after a short time in the apartment, realized Angie was Smith and assaulted him, punching him in the head and stomping on Smith, ultimately causing his death.

In opening statements, the defense alluded to that fight being in self defense.

During testimony, the jury was shown bloody autopsy pictures of Smith taken in his apartment. A witness from the medical examiner’s office confirmed Smith’s cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head.

During opening arguments, Etute’s defense said the jury should expect him to take the stand.

For previous reports on this case, click here.

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