Kidnapping arrest in connection with Vermont murder mystery

Published: Apr. 8, 2022 at 12:07 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 8, 2022 at 6:46 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Investigators are one step closer to closing an unsolved murder. Authorities have arrested and charged a Colorado man with the 2018 kidnapping of Gregory Davis, 49, of Danville, and police think the man could also be Davis’ killer.

The man in custody is Jerry Banks, 34, of Fort Garland, Colorado. He was apprehended Wednesday in Yellowstone National Park, where he was working.

Right now, Banks is only charged with kidnapping Davis.

The case has been cold for more than four years. Now, court paperwork holds answers about what led up to and may have motivated Davis’ murder.

On Jan. 7, 2018, on Peacham Road in the town of Barnet, Vermont State Police found Davis’ body partially covered in snow. It was discovered by a passing driver.

“We believe that he died from multiple gunshot wounds to the head and torso,” Vt. State Police Maj. Glenn Hall said in 2018.

Davis was also handcuffed.

It was the first suspected murder and confirmed homicide in Caledonia County in nearly six years.

“We do not believe, at this point, that this was a random act,” Hall said.

New details, four years later, could reveal Davis’ death was planned.

His wife told Vermont State Police that just one day before, on Jan. 6, 2018, a man posing as a U.S. Marshal driving a white four-door car came to the family’s door and claimed to arrest Davis on a warrant. Authorities now say that man was Jerry Banks.

Following a years-long investigation, the FBI tracked his activity leading up to the murder using cellphone records, which ultimately put Banks’ phone in the area of Danville and St. Johnsbury on Jan. 6, 2018-- where and when Davis was murdered.

Investigators say evidence also shows Banks was driving a white Ford Explorer during that time.

Banks was carrying two phones then and he was caught on camera at a Walmart in Pennsylvania purchasing a prepaid phone used to call 911 the day of Davis’ death.

The second phone connected to Banks pinged off cell towers in St. Johnsbury on Jan. 6, 2018. Evidence also indicates Banks took a trip to Barnet in November 2017 to stake out the area.

Records also show Banks purchased various items used in the kidnapping, including a U.S. Marshal’s badge and patches.

Banks is being held in Wyoming and he will appear in federal court there next week to answer to the kidnapping charge.

Then, he’ll be brought back to Vermont.

The FBI Albany office wrote to WCAX News in a statement, “The safe and successful arrest of Mr. Banks highlights what can be accomplished through close coordination with our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners across the country. We could not have accomplished this arrest without the assistance from the National Park Service and the FBI’s Cheyenne Wyoming Resident Agency. This case shows how vast the FBI’s reach is, and that we will continue to work with our partners to ensure those who break the law are held accountable and that justice is delivered to the victims of violent crime.”

As for the motive, the FBI indicates Banks was involved because he needed the money, suspecting it was a murder for hire. But the complaint offers no explanation of who hired Banks or why they wanted Davis dead.

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Death certificate: Victim found in snowbank was fatally shot in spot

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