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A jury in Virginia found 19-year-old Isimemen Etute not guilty of a charge of second-degree murder in the 2021 death of Jerry Smith.
40-year-old Jerry Smith was allegedly pretending to be a 21-year-old woman on Tinder named Angie Renee who worked as an room physician.
Smith allegedly continued this stunt during a sexual encounter as Smith performed oral sex on Etute. Taking the stand at trial, Etute said he felt “violated” when he discovered that the Tinder match he believed to be a woman was actually a man.
According to the defense attorney, Smith had been “controlling the entire environment and the entire episode” and even “demanded that it be dark.” Police found a knife under his mattress “in case there was something awry.” It was hidden between the man’s mattress and box spring.
As Etute became engaged, he testified that Smith reached for what he believed was a gun. However, Smith did not own a gun as it was a knife.
Etute, a former Virginia Tech football player, fatally beat Smith to death.
Defense attorney Jimmy Turk argued that Etute had acted in self-defense. Turk said Smith was a “deceitful and dishonest man” who “defrauded young men for his own sexual gratification.”
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“Who is the real victim here?” the attorney said through tears. “This was a wicked sexual ruse.”
Etute said he punched Smith five times and kicked him to gain time to escape the apartment.
The prosecuting attorney, Montgomery County Chief Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Patrick Jensen, compared Etute, an “elite college athlete,” to Smith, who weighed 153 pounds, and recalled the testimony of medical examiner Dr. Amy Tharp, who testified Smith suffered a “brutal beating.”
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When the not guilty verdict was read aloud, Etute embraced his defense attorney in a bear hug and prompted exited the courtroom with his emotional family members. Smith’s family and prosecutors also left reportedly without taking questions from the media.