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Commentary

Report: College Football Player Admits to Beating Man in Man's Home; Lawyer Blames Victim, Who Died After Being Left Broken and 'Gurgling'

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Virginia Tech football player Ismemen Etute agreed to meet up with a Tinder match named “Angie” for a sexual encounter earlier this spring.

Now Etute, an 18-year-old freshman, faces a charge of second-degree murder.

To make matters worse, Etute’s attorney, Jimmy Turk, remains determined to blame the victim.

According to The Roanoke Times, Etute matched with “Angie” on Tinder before visiting the victim’s apartment on April 10.

Etute returned on May 31 and discovered “Angie” — the woman behind the screen — wasn’t a woman at all, but rather a man identified as Jerry Paul Smith, a 40-year-old restaurant worker from Blacksburg, Virginia, according to court arguments by Turk and Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Jason Morgan.

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Etute, a linebacker, admitted to police that he punched the victim in the face five times and stomped on him once he fell to the floor after Etute discovered the person was a man, according to arguments presented Wednesday in a Montgomery County courtroom, the Times reported.

Etute described hearing “bubbling and gurgling” as he left the man’s apartment, but he never called police to the scene.

Police discovered Smith’s body in the apartment the following day.

Smith’s autopsy uncovered the startling reality of the damage his body suffered during the event.

Should Etute be convicted of second-degree murder?

According to The Roanoke Times’ report, all the bones in his face were broken, his teeth were gone and he had “multiple cranial fractures.”

Medical examiners concluded that blunt force trauma to the head caused Smith’s death.

Etute’s family and fellow football players — many garbed in Virginia Tech attire to display their support for Etute — gathered in a packed Montgomery County courtroom for his bond hearing Wednesday, according to the report.

After Etute was awarded bond, Chief Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Patrick Jensen filed an expedited appeal to keep him in jail for five more days.

However, the two parties agreed to release Etute on a $75,000 secured bond “under house arrest and electronic monitoring,” according to a release from the Commonwealth’s Attorney Mary Pettitt, the Times reported.

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Etute can only return to Montgomery County to consult with his attorney or to appear in court, the order states.

Although the person to blame here seems self-explanatory, it appears Etute’s attorney isn’t sure how to navigate around it.

“I’m not saying what happened was acceptable,” Turk said in the courtroom, “but this was more than someone just showing up to an apartment and punching someone.”

Turk made the case that Smith solicited Etute for sexual activity.

“Nobody deserves to die,” Turk told reporters outside the courtroom, “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.”

Etute told police that Smith did not assault him while at the apartment, according to the Times, so we’re left to wonder why things ended the way they did.

Of course, no one wants to be misled into thinking their date is someone they’re not, but obviously an exchange of this nature warrants a few cross words, not a brutal killing.

“I’m trying to stay strong for the people that support me; I feel like I’ve let a lot of people down. … I’m truly sorry for my actions,” Etute said when asked how the entire episode has affected him, according to the Times.

The suspect proceeds to be painted as the victim after Smith was brutally killed for misleading him.

Is it the job of Etute’s defense team to cast doubt on the blame in such an outlandish way?

Probably. But it’s also immoral.

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Taylor Penley is a political commentator residing in Northwest Georgia. She holds a BA in English with minors in rhetoric/writing and global studies from Dalton State College. As a student, she worked in government relations and interned for Georgia's 14th congressional district. She previously published an article with Future Female Leaders and published a rhetorical analysis of President Reagan's Brandenburg Gate Address in a collegiate journal. She aspires to earn an MA and a PhD in journalism in the near future.
Taylor Penley is a political commentator residing in Northwest Georgia. She holds a BA in English with minors in rhetoric/writing and global studies from Dalton State College. As a student, she worked in government relations and interned for Georgia's 14th congressional district. She previously published an article with Future Female Leaders and published a rhetorical analysis of President Reagan's Brandenburg Gate Address in a collegiate journal. She aspires to earn an MA and a PhD in journalism in the near future.




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