Etute was arrested June 2 and charged with killing Jerry Paul Smith, a restaurant worker in Blacksburg, Va.
All the bones in Smith’s face were broken, teeth were missing and he suffered cranial fractures, an autopsy report revealed. Etute, according to court arguments, reportedly told police he had punched Smith five times in the face and stomped on him after discovering the person he thought was a woman was a man.
Etute apparently told police he matched with a person named “Angie” on the dating app Tinder on April 10, and met for oral sex. Another match, according to court arguments, was to take place May 31 at an apartment for additional sexual activity.
At that time Etute discovered Smith was male, commonwealth attorneys told the court, and assaulted Smith. Etute left the apartment without calling police, according to court arguments, and Smith was found unresponsive two days later during a welfare check in the apartment located in the 100 block of North Main Street in Blacksburg.
Etute’s parents and sister attended the hearing in a packed courtroom that also included members of the Hokies football team, according to reports.
“Nobody deserves to die, but I don’t mind saying, don’t pretend you are something that you are not,” Etute’s attorney, Jimmy Turk, told reporters, according to The Richmond Times Dispatch. “Don’t target or lure anyone under that perception. That’s just wrong.”
Etute practiced with the Hokies during spring camp after enrolling midyear from Cox High School in Virginia Beach. He has been suspended from the team, according to a statement from the university, which has authority to suspend any student charged in a felony arrest.
Virginia Tech football coach Justin Fuente has not spoken publicly about Etute’s arrest.