BLACKSBURG, Va. (WFXR) — A former Virginia Tech linebacker who was acquitted of a murder charge back in May is expected to attend a new school in Iowa this fall.
Isimemen Etute was arrested and charged with second-degree murder after police found 40-year-old Jerry Smith dead in his Blacksburg apartment on June 1, 2021. A few days later, the medical examiner ruled Smith’s death as a homicide, saying that he died from blunt force trauma to the head.
The investigation determined that Etute and Smith — who had been posing as a woman named “Angie Renee” online — matched on Tinder and met at Smith’s apartment for a sexual encounter on April 10, 2021. After becoming suspicious of “Angie,” Etute went back to the apartment with two teammates to confront “her” on May 31, 2021.
Etute went into Smith’s apartment alone and came out crying with a bleeding hand, according to court documents. He later admitted to punching Smith several times and kicking him in the face once after using a flashlight to see that “Angie” was actually a man.
Etute was indicted for second-degree murder on Oct. 26, 2021, with his trial beginning seven months later.
On May 27, the final day of the trial, jurors deliberated for hours before returning to the courtroom with a verdict of not guilty, deciding not to charge Etute with second-degree murder or voluntary manslaughter.
Just a few days later, on June 3, Etute tweeted that his notification of transfer had been submitted by Virginia Tech and he had officially entered the NCAA portal. Under NCAA rules, that meant he would be able to enroll at a new school this fall and begin playing immediately.
Then, on Monday, July 25, ESPN reported that Etute is set to enroll at Iowa Western Community College, which was ranked second in the National Junior College Athletic Association Division I last season.
ESPN claims it was hard for Etute to find scholarship offers with other Division I schools following the high-profile trial.
In addition, ESPN says that three other Virginia Tech football players who testified at Etute’s trial — including Jordan Brunson and Jalen Hampton, the two teammates who waited outside Smith’s apartment the night of his death, and Da’Shawn Elder, who went along with Etute during his first meeting with Smith — have also transferred from the Blacksburg university.