A suspended Virginia Tech football player has been charged with murder after allegedly beating to death a 40-year-old man who pretended to be a woman when they previously met to have sex.
Isimemen David Etute — an 18-year-old freshman at the university planning to play linebacker for the football team — was indicted by a Montgomery County grand jury on a charge of second-degree murder Tuesday, according to the Roanoke Times.
Etute now has a hearing scheduled for Nov. 18, where attorneys for both sides will work on a timeline for the remainder of the case.
The freshman football player was arrested and suspended from the team in early June under suspicion that he had murdered Jerry Paul Smith, a middle-aged restaurant project manager, over Memorial Day weekend.
Attorneys allege that Smith and Etute met in April after they matched on the dating app Tinder and engaged in oral sex. But according to statements made at earlier court hearings, Etute believed that Smith was a female since Smith represented himself as a woman named "Angie" on the app.
About a month later, Etute allegedly went back to Smith's Blacksburg apartment to find out if he was a man or a woman and, according to the Roanoke Times, "groped Smith to try to determine his gender, used his phone's flashlight to get a better look at Smith in the dark apartment, then began punching him."
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Etute allegedly told investigators that he heard a "bubbling and gurgling noise" when he left the apartment. According to NewsOne, attorneys have said that Etute went on stomping Smith after he was down, breaking every bone in his face, knocking out his teeth, and fracturing his cranium.
The phenomenon that Etute described is often referred to as catfishing, a slang term that depicts a person pretending to be someone they are not on social media.
TheBlaze previously reported that Etute's lawyer, Jimmy Smith, argued Smith's catfishing should be considered in the trial.
"I'm not saying what happened was acceptable, but this was more than someone just showing up to an apartment and punching someone," Turk reportedly said in court. "Nobody deserves to die, but I don't mind saying, don't pretend you are something that you are not. Don't target or lure anyone under that perception. That's just wrong."
The Roanoke Times reported that Etute was released on a $75,000 secured bond and has been allowed to remain free as long as he stays with family in Virginia Beach and submits to electronic monitoring.
He faces up to 40 years in prison if convicted on the charge.