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Crime News Breaking News

Research Doctor Allegedly Hired Hitman To Cover Up Fraudulent Multi-Million Dollar Oil Deal

Dr. Serhat Gumrukcu and three other people have been arrested in connection with the alleged murder-for-hire of Gregory Davis in Vermont in 2018.

By Gina Tron
Handcuffs Court

A research doctor and biotech founder based in California has been accused of hiring a hitman to murder one of his business partners.

Dr. Serhat Gumrukcu, 39, of Los Angeles was arrested on Tuesday in connection with the 2018 murder of Vermont resident Gregory Davis, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney for Vermont. 

A federal grand jury in Vermont indicted Gumrukcu and Berk Eratay, 35, of Las Vegas, Nevada with conspiring to use interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder-for-hire which resulted in Davis’ death.

Davis, who lived in Danville, Vermont — in the northeast portion of the state — “was found dead in a snowbank several miles from his residence” on Jan. 6, 2018, according to the press release.

Two other men had previously been arrested in connection to the alleged murder-for-hire.

Jerry Banks, 34, of Fort Garland, Colorado was arrested in April and charged with kidnapping Davis from his home. 

“Although Banks is not charged with Davis’s murder, the government has alleged that Banks murdered Davis,” the press release specifies.  

Aron Lee Ethridge, 41, of Henderson, Nevada was also arrested in April on charges of conspiring to kidnap Davis. Ethridge was allegedly in communication with Banks before and after the kidnapping and murder, according to the feds. 

According to court records obtained by Law&Crime, “Gumrukcu was identified as a likely suspect involved in the murder because Gumrukcu and his brother Murat Gumrukcu were the only people who appeared to have a dispute with Davis that would potentially be a motive for Davis’s execution.” 

A year before his murder, Davis had threatened to call the FBI on the Gumrukcu brothers over a multimillion-dollar oil deal that the three had gotten into in 2015. The “Gumrukcus failed to perform on the deal and had made various claims about their attempts to perform. Davis believed that the Gumrukcus had lied to him about various matters,” the court records state. “During 2017, Serhat Gumrukcu was facing felony fraud charges in California state court. One aspect of those fraud charges involved bounced checks Serhat Gumrukcu had provided to the middleman in the oil deal.” 

In those allegedly bounced checks, Gumrukcu “falsely called himself ‘HRH Serhat Gumrukcu,’ a reference to ‘His Royal Highness.’”

Murat Gumrukcu, who lives in Turkey, allegedly visited the United States in 2017 and  2018, and was staying at Eratay’s former apartment in Las Vegas at the time of Davis’ killing.

Prosecutors allege the brothers hired a hit on Davis, noting that Dr. Gumrukcu “had a strong motive to prevent Davis” from reporting fraud. Gumrukcu co-founded the successful biotech company Enochian Bioscience in 2017, and the company claims to be developing several drugs for diseases — including HIV and COVID-19 — according to its website. Gumrukcu, the company’s largest shareholder, apparently owns over $100 million worth of Enochian stock, according to court records. 

Davis lived with his wife and six children in a Vermont farmhouse for about two years before his death, after relocating from New Jersey, according to Vermont outlet The Caledonian Record.

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