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Feds seek to hold suspect in 2018 murder of Vermont man

June 14, 2022 GMT

Federal prosecutors want a judge to order the suspect in a 2018 murder-for-hire of a Vermont man held without bail pending trial, court documents show.

In documents filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, prosecutors say that Serhat Gumrucku, 39, would be a flight risk even if he posts millions of dollars in bail as he has offered to do.

If convicted of the charge against him — conspiring to use interstate commerce facilities in the commission of a murder-for-hire which resulted in the death of Gregory Davis, of Danville — Gumrukcu is facing life in prison or the death penalty.

“The very real prospect of Gumrukcu spending the rest of his life in prison provides him with a compelling incentive to flee,” prosecutors said in the court documents.

A detention hearing for Gumrukcu, who was indicted last month by a Vermont grand jury, had been scheduled for earlier this month in Los Angeles, but it was postponed until Wednesday. It’s expected that Gumrukcu will be brought to Vermont at some point to answer the charge against him.

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A separate filing by Gumrukcu’s attorney asking that he be released on bail said he was willing to accept home detention in California or Vermont and he would put up millions of dollars in bail. It also claimed the charges against Gumrukcu were flimsy and noted that the FBI had asked him about Davis’s death over the years and he has made no effort to flee.

“There is nothing other than an unproven and untested allegation in the indictment and no extrinsic evidence to corroborate anything,” said the June 1 filing by Los Angeles Attorney Victor Sherman.

Davis, 49, was abducted from his Danville home on Jan. 6, 2018. He was found shot to death the next day in a snowbank on a back road in Barnet.

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

In 2017, Gumrukcu was facing fraud charges in California state court and he was putting together a deal that came together soon after Davis’s death, which gave him significant ownership stake in the company.

Prosecutors allegedly linked Gumrukcu to the killing of Davis through three other men, including a Colorado man charged with abducting Davis while impersonating a U.S. marshal, Jerry Banks, who pleaded not guilty earlier this month to the kidnapping charge.

While Banks has only been charged with kidnapping, prosecutors say he killed Davis.