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A teenage footballer charged with murder told police he beat a man to death – breaking every bone in his face – for catfishing him on Tinder, a court heard.
Isimemen David Etute, 18, was arrested after police found 40-year-old Jerry Smith's badly battered body in his apartment in Blacksburg, Virginia.
Prosecutors said the Virginia Tech linebacker told investigators that he had first gone to the apartment for oral sex in April after matching with a woman called "Angie" on the dating app.
Etute told police that he returned to the apartment on May 31 for another meet-up and discovered the person he had matched up with this time was male, said Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Jason Morgan.
The defendant told investigators he punched Smith five times in the face and “stomped” on him, the Roanoke Times reported.
He didn’t call police despite hearing “bubbling and gurgling” from the victim as he left the apartment, it was claimed.
Cops found Smith's body a day later and an autopsy revealed the restaurant worker died from blunt force trauma to the head.
All of the bones in his face were broken and his teeth were also missing, the Roanoke Times reported.
Etute was charged with second-degree murder after he was arrested on June 2.
His attorney, Jimmy Turk, told a judge the case was “more than someone just showing up to an apartment and punching someone.”
Turk later addressed reporters outside of court on Wednesday and said: “Nobody deserves to die, but I don’t mind saying, don’t pretend you are something that you are not.
“Don’t target or lure anyone under that perception. That’s just wrong.”
The linebacker’s parents and sister attended the bond hearing on Wednesday.
They were reportedly joined by a dozen Virginia Tech football players, most of whom were wearing team gear.
Turk asked Etute, who was clad in an orange prison jumpsuit, how he had been affected by the charges during the hearing.
The defendant reportedly answered: “Real hard. I’m trying to stay strong for the people that support me, I feel like I’ve let a lot of people down … I’m truly sorry for my actions.”
Etute was ordered released on $75,000 secured bond under conditions of house arrest and electronic monitoring, the Roanoke Times reported, citing Commonwealth’s Attorney Mary Pettitt.
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Etute, who will stay with his parents in Virginia Beach, is due back in court on September 23, WJZY reported.
The linebacker’s team profile was not active Thursday. He was suspended from the squad last week.
Relatives of Smith, meanwhile, reportedly declined to comment after the hearing.
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