Man denies kidnapping charge in alleged murder-for-hire plot

Federal prosecutors allege man was targeted to avoid fraud.

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DANA GRAY/Associated Press

Vermont State Trooper, center, speaks to a homeowner on Thursday, Jan. 8, 2018 near an area on Peacham Road, in Barnet, Vt., where the body of Gregory Davis was found. Federal prosecutors say a conspiracy that resulted in the murder of Gregory Davis grew out of a financial dispute between him and one of the men now charged with arranging to have him killed. In a Monday, May 30, 2022 filing, prosecutors said that Davis had been threatening to go to the FBI with information that Serhat Gumrukcu was defrauding him in a multi-million dollar oil deal.

LISA RATHKE, Associated Press

BURLINGTON, Vt. — A Colorado man pleaded not guilty Thursday in federal court in Vermont to kidnapping a man who was later found shot to death in a snowbank in 2018. Federal prosecutors allege it’s a murder-for-hire case stemming from a financial dispute. 

Prosecutors say they believe Jerry Banks, 34, of Fort Garland, Colorado, killed Gregory Davis, 49, of Danville, Vermont, but Banks has not been charged in the killing.

Davis was abducted from his Danville, Vermont, home on Jan. 6, 2018, and found shot to death the next day in a snowbank on a back road.

Prosecutors detailed the alleged conspiracy in a filing Monday in federal court in Las Vegas. They wrote that Davis threatened to go to the FBI with information that Serhat Gumrukcu, 39, an inventor and the co-founder of a Los Angeles-based biotechnology company, defrauded Davis in a 2015 multimillion-dollar oil deal.

Gurumkcu was facing felony fraud charges in California in 2017 and was working on a deal that came together soon after Davis’ death that gave him a significant ownership stake in Enochian Bioscience, which the filing says gave him motive to prevent Davis from reporting another fraud.

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