Murder suspect testifies in alleged sex-related killing trial

Published: May. 26, 2022 at 3:37 PM EDT
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MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ) - A former Virginia Tech football player took the stand Thursday in his own defense, during his trial for the alleged sex-related killing of another man.

Isi Etute testified he matched with a person he thought was a woman named Angie on the dating app Tinder. He said after meeting with that person for a sexual encounter, his friends joked with him they didn’t know who the person was.

He then said on the stand that after talking with his friends, they wanted to find out who “Angie” was. He said on the stand, the plan was just to run if “Angie” was in fact a man.

Etute testified that on May 31, 2021, he went into the apartment and felt the person, identified as victim Jerry Smith, and said something didn’t feel right. That’s when he said he pulled back a hoodie and realized Smith was a man.

Etute said he was in shock, and testified he thought Smith tried to reach for something, believing it was a gun at the time. On the stand, Etute said he feared for his life, so he started to hit Smith, who died of blunt force injuries to the head.

So far, no evidence has been shown that there was a gun recovered in the apartment. In evidence Wednesday, a police officer with the Blacksburg Police department testified about finding a knife hidden between the mattress and the box spring.

In court Thursday, a video was played of an interview with Blacksburg Police and Etute that happened a day or so after the incident. In that video, shown in court, Etute never mentioned anything about fearing for his life or that he saw Smith reach for anything.

In that same video, when detectives told Etute Smith was dead, he was visibly upset.

Etute testified he left the apartment believing Smith was still alive.

Thursday was day two of Etute’s trial in Montgomery County Circuit Court. Etute pleaded not guilty to second degree murder.

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