CHRISTIANSBURG — A now suspended Virginia Tech football player told police he punched a sexual partner five times in the face and stomped on him after discovering the person he thought was a woman was actually a man, according to arguments presented Wednesday in a Montgomery County courtroom.
According to the autopsy, all the bones in Blacksburg resident Jerry Paul Smith's face were broken, his teeth were missing and he had multiple cranial fractures. The medical examiner's office had previously revealed that Smith had died from blunt force trauma to the head.
Ismemen David Etute of Virginia Beach was arrested and charged with second-degree murder June 2 in the death of Smith, a Blacksburg restaurant worker.
Etute was granted bond in a hearing Wednesday morning in Montgomery County General District Court, but Chief Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Patrick Jensen filed an expedited appeal that would have kept Etute in jail for up to five more days.
The two sides later Wednesday came to an agreement to release Etute on a $75,000 secured bond under house arrest and electronic monitoring, according to a release put out by Commonwealth’s Attorney Mary Pettitt. The order restricts Etute from returning to Montgomery County except to consult with his attorney or to attend court proceedings.
The courtroom was packed as Judge Randal Duncan excluded cameras from the courtroom at the start of the proceeding. Smith’s family was in attendance. More than a dozen football players — most of them clad in Virginia Tech gear — were there in support of Etute.
Etute was in court Wednesday morning wearing an orange prison jumpsuit. A bailiff was stationed behind Etute throughout the entire hearing, and Etute was handcuffed with his wrists attached to a chain around his waist.
Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Jason Morgan argued against bail, and outlined new details about the case based on statements Etute gave to the police.
According to those statements, Etute visited the victim's apartment April 10 for oral sex after he was matched up with someone named "Angie" on Tinder. Etute returned to the apartment May 31 to engage in sexual activity and discovered the person he was matched up with was a man, according to summaries of the evidence made by both Morgan and defense attorney Jimmy Turk.
Etute told the police he punched the victim five times in the face and continued punching them when the person hit the ground and "stomped" on them. He heard "bubbling and gurgling" as he left the apartment, but didn't call the police.
Police discovered Smith's body in the apartment in the 100 block of Blacksburg's North Main Street on June 1.
Turk’s response to Morgan outlining the circumstances of the case was to emphasize that the victim solicited Etute for sexual activity.
“I’m not saying what happened was acceptable, but this was more than someone just showing up to an apartment and punching someone,” Turk told the court.