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Virginia Tech football player charged with murder, walks free until autumn court date, bizarre encounter with his victim revealed in hearing

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Greg Giesen

The Virginian-Pilot

Virginia Tech freshman football player Isimemen Etute was arrested and charged with second-degree murder Wednesday in connection with the death of a Blacksburg resident, according to a release from Virginia Tech.

Etute, who is from Virginia Beach and graduated from Cox High, was suspended from the football team.

The Blacksburg Police Department was making a welfare check at a residence around 10:30 p.m. on Tuesday when it found the victim – Jerry Smith – who was dead. Investigators ruled the death a homicide and Etute was identified as a person of interest, according to a police press release. He was later charged.

Blacksburg police said Etute was acquainted with Smith, who was 40.

Etute, who is being held at the Montgomery County Jail without bond, was the 14th-ranked player in the 757Teamz Top 50 of the Class of 2021. He was a three-star recruit at linebacker and the 26th best player in the state, according to ESPN.

Former Cox teammate Nate Evans was stunned by the news.

“He’s a pretty outgoing person,” Evans, a freshman cornerback at N.C. State, said about Etute. “Just seeing it just really surprised me. The Isi I knew was nothing like that.”

He added that Etute is a “good person” who is sometimes “goofy” around friends.

“Anybody who knew Isi, he knew how to put a smile on your face,” he said. “For me to hear something like this, it’s just crazy.”

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