Gay/Trans ‘Panic’ Defense Leads to Accused Killer’s Acquittal.

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05/31/2022

A Virginia man has been acquitted of murder after using what amounted to a gay/trans “panic” defense, outlawed in the state just a month after the victim’s death. A jury Friday found former Virginia Tech football player Isimemen Etute, 19, not guilty of second-degree murder in the beating death of Jerry Paul Smith, The Roanoke Times reports. The trial took place over three days in Montgomery County Circuit Court in Christiansburg, Va. Smith, 40, had had a sexual encounter with Etute in Smith’s apartment in Blacksburg, Va. They met on Tinder, and Etute believed Smith was a woman named Angie. Smith performed oral sex on Etute when they hooked up April 10, 2021, with Etute still believing Smith was a woman. It is unknown if Smith identified as transgender; his family has said he was a gay man.

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