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Cause of death of Blacksburg businessman ruled blunt force; FBI involved in investigation

Updated: Jun. 3, 2021 at 11:25 AM EDT
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BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - A man found dead in Blacksburg this week died of blunt force injuries to the head, according to the Roanoke Medical Examiner’s Office.

Businessman Jerry Smith was found dead when police did a welfare check the night of June 1; investigators ruled his death a homicide.

The suspect in the killing faces a prelimary hearing in Montgomery County September 23.

Isimemen Etute, a Virginia Tech student now suspended from the university and its football team, is charged with second-degree murder in Smith’s death. No information about a possible motive has been released, but police say the two knew each other.

The FBI Richmond office confirmed Thursday it is assisting Blacksburg Police in the investigation, “providing whatever investigative resources are necessary,” but is not commenting further.

At his video arraignment June 3, Etute was appointed an attorney, Naomi Huntington, who is a Radford City councilwoman and the city’s vice mayor. She has since been replaced by Jimmy Turk, who has represented other Virginia Tech students in criminal matters.

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