UNITED STATES NEWS

Colorado man pleads guilty in Vermont murder for hire conspiracy

Jun 9, 2023, 6:19 PM

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — The Colorado man who prosecutors say abducted and killed a Vermont man as part of an international murder for hire conspiracy pleaded guilty Friday in federal court to charges that could land him in prison for life.

Jerry Banks, 35, appeared in Vermont U.S. District Court where he changed his plea to guilty. A sentencing hearing for Banks will be scheduled for a later date.

Banks was charged with murder for hire that led to the January 2018 death of Gregory Davis, of Danville, Vermont, and a charge of kidnapping. He had initially pleaded not guilty. Davis’ body was found by the side of a snowy Vermont back road.

Prosecutors say Banks was part of a conspiracy that began when Davis had been threatening to go to the FBI to report he’d been involved in a fraudulent oil deal with another one of the conspirators, Serhat Gumrukcu, of Los Angeles, who is also facing a murder for hire charge in the case.

The cases of Gumrukcu and Berk Eratay, who faces similar charges, are pending. Both have pleaded not guilty.

A fourth person, Aren Lee Ethridge, of Las Vegas, pleaded guilty in July and is awaiting sentencing.

After Davis’ death, investigators worked for more than four years to build a chain connecting the four suspects: Banks, who was friends with Ethridge, who was friends with Eratay, who worked for Gumrukcu.

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Colorado man pleads guilty in Vermont murder for hire conspiracy