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2nd suspect charged in kidnapping of man later found dead

April 20, 2022 GMT

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — A Las Vegas man pleaded not guilty Wednesday to a federal charge that he conspired in the 2018 kidnapping of a man later found shot to death in a snowbank in the Vermont town of Barnet.

Aron Lee Ethridge, 42, answered a series of questions from U.S. District Court Judge Geoffrey Crawford before he entered the plea. Ethridge was ordered held pending a detention hearing for next week.

Ethridge’s defense attorney Mark Kaplan confirmed his client was from Las Vegas, but had no additional comment following the hearing.

Prosecutors allege that Ethridge conspired with Jerry Banks to kidnap Gregory Davis from his home in Danville, Vermont. Banks, who was also charged with kidnapping earlier this month, allegedly posed as a U.S. Marshal who told Davis he had a warrant for his arrest on a racketeering charge when he arrived at his Danville home. The two went away together on Jan. 6, 2018.

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Davis’ body was found the next day in a snowbank in Barnet.

“Although Banks is not charged with Davis’s murder, the complaint affidavit contains allegations that Banks murdered Davis,” the office of the U.S. attorney in Vermont said in a news release earlier this month.

Prosecutors have not disclosed any potential motive for the kidnapping.

Investigators linked Banks to the kidnapping and death of Davis through a cellphone that Banks is alleged to have purchased in Pennsylvania.

The indictment of Ethridge says Banks called Ethridge on Jan. 7, 2018, “to inform him that Davis had been successfully kidnapped and murdered.”

Banks was indicted last week on the kidnapping charge. It is unclear when he will be returned to Vermont to face the charge.

Banks’ Vermont attorney did not return an email Wednesday seeking comment.

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This story has been corrected to show that Ethridge is 42, not 41.