Alleged hitman in Vermont murder-for-hire plot pleads guilty

Published: Jun. 9, 2023 at 12:05 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 9, 2023 at 5:11 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - The alleged hitman in a murder-for-hire plot in Danville pleaded guilty in federal court on Friday.

As part of the plea agreement filed in federal court Thursday, Jerry Banks now faces up to life in prison after prosecutors say he kidnapped and killed Gregory Davis, 49, of Danville, five years ago. Banks was hired to do the job.

In January 2018, Davis was found dead on the side of Peacham Road in Barnet. He was shot in the head and the torso. Prosecutors say Banks pulled the trigger.

The plot was hatched in 2017 and the trail leads through California, Nevada, Colorado and eventually to Vermont.

According to court documents, in 2017, Berk Eratay, of Las Vegas, contacted Aron Ethridge, also from Nevada. They say Eratay then paid Ethridge $100,000 upfront to cover the cost of murdering Davis.

Prosecutors say Ethridge used half of that money to hire Jerry Banks of Colorado to carry out the hit.

Court paperwork states in the fall of 2017, Banks traveled from Colorado to Vermont to conduct surveillance on Davis.

On Jan. 6, 2018, Banks came back to Vermont, where prosecutors say he impersonated a U.S. marshal, abducted Davis from his Danville home, and murdered him.

Davis’ body was found the next day in a snowbank on the side of the road about 15 miles away.

Ethridge was paid more money in Bitcoin after Davis was dead.

Authorities say the man behind the plan who paid everyone was Serhat Gumrukcu of Los Angeles. Prosecutors say Gumrukcu was afraid Davis would talk to the FBI about a fraudulent oil deal.

A status conference in federal court in Burlington is scheduled next week for Banks, Eratay and Gumrukcu.

Ethridge pleaded guilty to his charges back in July and is in custody awaiting sentencing.

Banks will be sentenced at a later date.

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