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Virginia Tech Footballer Charged With Tinder Match Murder After He Discovered His Date Was A Man

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A suspended Virginia Tech football player beat and stomped to death his Tinder match after learning the person was male, prosecutors said.

Isimemen Etute, 18, of Virginia Beach, was charged with second-degree murder in connection with the death of Jerry Smith in Blacksburg, where Virginia Tech is based, police said earlier this month. Smith, 40, died of blunt head injuries, according to the Roanoke Medical Examiners Office.

Officials initially said Etute and the victim were acquaintances, but new details in court on Wednesday revealed the two met on April 10 after a match on the Tinder dating app, NBC affiliate WSLS by Roanoke reported.

Etute told police Smith was posing as a woman under the alias, Angie, said Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Jason Morgan.

He was unaware that Smith was male when the two met and engaged in sexual activity during their first meeting at Smiths’ apartment, according to Etutes’ attorney Jimmy Turk.

On May 31, Etute returned to the victim’s residence, where he discovered that Angie was actually Smith, Turk said.

After the discovery, Etute Smith hit five times and stamped his head after the victim fell to the ground, Morgan said. He told authorities Smith is not fighting back and admitted he heard a bubbling and gurgling noise after the incident, but did not call police, Morgan said.

Officers found Smith after responding to a welfare check at his residence around 10:30 p.m. ET on June 1, according to the Blacksburg Police Department. Investigators ruled the death a homicide and later identified Etute as a person of interest in the case.

He was immediately suspended from the football team and Virginia Tech, where he majored in human development, according to the school. Although Etute’s information is not on the football team’s website, WSLS reported that he was a freshman linebacker.

The Commonwealth appealed the judge’s ruling to release Etute on $75,000 bail, but dropped it after a judge determined the suspect posed no flight risk or danger to society.

Under the terms of his bail, Etute must live with his family in Virginia Beach, Turk said, adding that his next court hearing is scheduled for Sept. 23. Montgomery County Commonwealths attorney Mary Pettitt said.

Attempts to reach Smith’s family were unsuccessful on Friday.

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