Vermont murder for hire case suspect pleads not guilty

October 11, 2022 GMT

RUTLAND, Vt. (AP) — The Colorado man who prosecutors say abducted and killed a Vermont man as part of a murder for hire conspiracy pleaded not guilty Tuesday in federal court to a new charge.

Jerry Banks, 35, appeared by video conference Tuesday in Vermont U.S. District Court where he entered the plea to a new indictment charging him with murder for hire that led to the 2018 death of Gregory Davis, of Danville, and a charge of kidnapping. Banks had previously entered a not guilty plea to a kidnapping charge.

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.

Another one of the alleged conspirators, Berk Eratay, had been scheduled to enter a plea Tuesday to an updated indictment, but the hearing was postponed until Wednesday because of technical problems with the video feed.

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