Virginia Tech football player from Virginia Beach appears in court on murder charge

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BLACKSBURG, Va. (WAVY) — A Virginia Tech football player from Virginia Beach charged with murder was in court Thursday morning.

Isimemen Etute, 18, faces a second-degree murder charge after being arrested by Blacksburg police. He was given an attorney on Thursday and his next court appearance will be on September 23.

Etute said only “Yes, sir” and “No, sir” to the judge during the brief one minute arraignment confirming that the understood the charges, wanted a court appointed attorney and had no questions.

Court paperwork shows the incident happened on Memorial Day. Police found 40-year-old Jerry Smith, of Blacksburg, dead on Tuesday after a welfare check.

Our sister station, WFXR, told WAVY the address of where he was found is the office of the Roanoke Regional Restaurant Group. The local affiliate previously interviewed the victim in his role as president of the organization.

Witnesses are helping police with the investigation.

Blacksburg police say this is a complex case. Investigators believe Etute and Smith knew each other.

Etute is from Virginia Beach and a Cox High School graduate. Virginia Beach public schools declined to provide any statement.

Etute started at Virginia Tech in January 2021, according to the 24/7 sports website. He signed with Tech last July and practiced with the team this spring.

In a statement, Virginia Tech and the football team immediately suspended Etute, who is a freshman studying human development.

The Virginia Tech and Town of Blacksburg communities are united in our shared concern for the welfare of all. Together, we denounce all acts of violence and stand together in support of one another.

The university encourages anyone who knows anything about the case to call Blacksburg police.

Etute is being held in the Montgomery County Jail. 

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