A jury on Friday acquitted a previous Virginia Tech soccer player who experienced been accused of fatally beating a person he claims he initially considered from a Tinder match to be a woman.
Former participant Isimemen Etute, 19, was located not guilty of a cost of 2nd-degree murder in the 2021 dying of Jerry Smith, 40, of Blacksburg. The jury deliberated for close to 3 hrs in advance of returning its verdict about 6:30 p.m., The Roanoke Times claimed.
Immediately following the verdict was declared, Smith’s family quickly still left the courtroom. The prosecuting legal professional, Montgomery County Chief Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Patrick Jensen, declined comment and referred questions to his manager, Commonwealth’s Lawyer Mary Pettitt.
The jury began deliberations after closing arguments finished shortly right before 3 p.m.
Prosecutors had earlier informed the jury that Etute, then 18, grew to become enraged and fatally defeat Smith when he found Smith was a man. 1 of the prosecutors explained at closing arguments Friday that Etute gave unique versions of activities to law enforcement and the jury, and that the charge might have been sufficient for him to transform his testimony.
“He has a tremendous volume driving on this trial,” Jensen had explained through his closing argument hrs before Friday, The Roanoke Periods documented.
Defense legal professional Jimmy Turk told the jurors before Friday that the commonwealth’s proof was circumstantial, although the defense’s proof, which provided the testimony of Etute, was immediate.
Turk also reported Smith was “controlling the entire natural environment and the complete episode.” He extra that Smith experienced “demanded that it be dark” and had concealed a knife underneath his mattress “in situation there was something awry.”
Turk also argued that law enforcement didn’t ask Etute necessary questions about Smith’s knife or Etute’s anxiety while in the apartment, two issues whose responses could have revealed regardless of whether Etute was fearful for his life and acting in self-protection.
In taking the stand earlier in the week, Etute had testified that he felt “violated” when he uncovered that the Tinder match he believed to be a lady was actually a man.
In his testimony Thursday, Etute experienced testified that Smith attained for what Etute thought was a gun. Smith did not very own a gun, but law enforcement noted acquiring a knife amongst the man’s mattress and box spring.
Etute mentioned he punched Smith five instances and kicked him to achieve time to escape the apartment.
Jensen experienced preserved that Etute experienced not acted in self-protection. He argued that right after Etute punched Smith and Smith fell to the flooring, there was “no way” Smith could have achieved a weapon under his mattress.
“He could in no way get to a gun from there,” Jensen said.
Jensen recalled the testimony of healthcare examiner Dr. Amy Tharp, who Jensen mentioned testified Smith had been the victim of a “brutal beating.”
Jensen stated that while Etute was sporting flip-flops at the time of the experience, those people shoes ended up hooked up to a “massive particular person” and a “solid person.” He when compared Etute, an “elite school athlete,” to Smith, who weighed 153 lbs . (just beneath 70 kilograms).
“That is a big disparity,” Jensen said.