Suspect pleads guilty in 2018 Vermont murder-for-hire case

Jul 21, 2022, 9:42 PM | Updated: Jul 22, 2022, 9:52 am

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — A 42-year-old Nevada man pleaded guilty Friday in U.S. District Court in Burlington for his role in helping arrange the kidnapping and murder of a Vermont man stemming from a financial dispute.

Aron Lee Ethridge is one of four men who have been charged in the kidnapping of Gregory Davis from his Danville home Jan. 6, 2018. Davis was found shot to death in a snowbank the next day.

As part of a plea agreement, prosecutors and Ethridge’s defense attorney agreed to recommend a prison sentence of 27 years or less. The actual sentence, scheduled for December, will be up to the judge. Ethridge could be sentenced to life in prison.

Prosecutors say Ethridge arranged for Jerry Banks, 34, of Fort Garland, Colorado, to kidnap and then kill Davis. Banks allegedly called Ethridge the day after the kidnapping to inform him that Davis had been successfully kidnapped and killed.

Banks has only been charged with kidnapping, but prosecutors allege he killed Davis. He has pleaded not guilty and is being held pending trial.

In court Friday, Ethridge, dressed in a black and white prison jumpsuit, pleaded to two charges in the death of Davis, that he arranged for Banks to travel to Vermont to kill Davis and that he conspired with others to arrange for the killing of Davis.

During the 40-minute hearing, Ethridge answered a series of questions from U.S. District Court Chief Judge Geoffrey Crawford by saying “yes, sir” or “no, sir.” When asked for his plea to the two charges against him, Ethridge answered “guilty.”

Prosecutors allege that Ethridge served as a middleman between Banks, Berk Eratay, 35, of Las Vegas, and Serhat Gumrukcu, 39, of Los Angeles, who were arrested in May on charges of conspiring to use interstate commerce facilities in the commission of the murder-for-hire that resulted in the death of Davis.

Prosecutors say Davis had been threatening to go to the FBI with information that Gumrukcu, the co-founder of a Los Angeles-based biotechnology company, was defrauding Davis in a multimillion-dollar oil deal that Gumrukcu and his brother had entered into with Davis in 2015.

Eratay and Gumrukcu are both in custody pending their transfer to Vermont, where they will answer the charges after they arrive. It’s unclear when they will arrive in Vermont.

Gumrukcu’s Vermont attorney, David Kirby, was in court Friday. He declined to answer questions about the case.

Eratay paid Ethridge more than $110,000, some of which was paid to Banks. After Davis’ death, Eratay allegedly provided Ethridge with an additional payment in bitcoin.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


FILE - Candles are lit on a memorial wall during an anniversary memorial service at the Holy Trinit...

Associated Press

Pain and terror felt by passengers before Boeing Max crashed can be considered, judge rules

Families of passengers who died in the crash of a Boeing 737 Max in Ethiopia can seek damages for the pain and terror suffered by victims in the minutes before the plane flew nose-down into the ground, a federal judge has ruled.

20 hours ago

OpenAI's CEO Sam Altman, the founder of ChatGPT and creator of OpenAI speaks at University College ...

Associated Press

Artificial intelligence threatens extinction, experts say in new warning

Scientists and tech industry leaders issued a new warning Tuesday about the perils that artificial intelligence poses to humankind.

20 hours ago

FILE - Employees walk through a lobby at Amazon's headquarters on Nov. 13, 2018, in Seattle. A grou...

Associated Press

Hundreds of Amazon workers protest company’s climate impact, return-to-office mandate

SEATTLE (AP) — Telling executives to “strive harder,” hundreds of corporate Amazon workers protested what they decried as the company’s lack of progress on climate goals and an inequitable return-to-office mandate during a lunchtime demonstration at its Seattle headquarters Wednesday. The protest came a week after Amazon’s annual shareholder meeting and a month after a […]

2 days ago


Associated Press

Body of avalanche victim in Washington state recovered after being spotted by volunteer

Search crews have recovered the body of a climber who was one of three killed in an avalanche on Washington's Colchuck Peak in February.

2 days ago

Eugene and Linda Lamie, of Homerville, Ga., sit by the grave of their son U.S. Army Sgt. Gene Lamie...

Associated Press

Biden on Memorial Day lauds generations of fallen US troops who ‘dared all and gave all’

President Joe Biden lauded the sacrifice of generations of U.S. troops who died fighting for their country as he marked Memorial Day with the traditional wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.

3 days ago

OpenAI's CEO Sam Altman, the founder of ChatGPT and creator of OpenAI gestures while speaking at Un...

Associated Press

ChatGPT maker downplays fears they could leave Europe over AI rules

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman on Friday downplayed worries that the ChatGPT maker could exit the European Union

4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Internet Washington...

Major Internet Upgrade and Expansion Planned This Year in Washington State

Comcast is investing $280 million this year to offer multi-gigabit Internet speeds to more than four million locations.

Compassion International...

Brock Huard and Friends Rally Around The Fight for First Campaign

Professional athletes are teaming up to prevent infant mortality and empower women at risk in communities facing severe poverty.

Emergency Preparedness...

Prepare for the next disaster at the Emergency Preparedness Conference

Being prepared before the next emergency arrives is key to preserving businesses and organizations of many kinds.

SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.

Comcast Ready for Business Fund...

Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Suspect pleads guilty in 2018 Vermont murder-for-hire case