AURORA | An Aurora man on trial for first-degree murder in Arapahoe County District Court this week is accused of repeatedly stabbing his sister’s boyfriend in the neck, back, chest and arm in their shared north Aurora home, newly released court documents reveal.
District Court Judge Ben Leutwyler on Wednesday orally ruled to release a long-suppressed arrest affidavit filed against 29-year-old J’zell Gilbert, who is accused of murdering 34-year-old David Payne on June 23, 2017.
Local prosecutors ordered the arrest document be suppressed for an unspecified reason the same day Payne was killed, according to court documents obtained by The Sentinel.
Investigators believe Gilbert stabbed Payne at least seven times using a pocketknife at about 8 a.m. June 23 in a home they were sharing with other members of the Gilbert family, according to the arrest affidavit.
Gilbert’s sister, Joy Gilbert, told police she found her brother standing over Payne, her boyfriend, trying to force him to drink an unspecified brown liquid sometime between when she woke up around 7:20 a.m. and 8 a.m.
Payne and Joy Gilbert’s 4-month-old child was in another room in the home when the scuffle occurred, according to the arrest document.
Payne, who was seated in a beanbag chair in the sunroom of the Gilbert’s home at 13005 E. 13th Ave., then swung at J’zell, Joy Gilbert told police. J’zell ducked away from Payne’s punch and began repeatedly stabbing him.
Joy Gilbert was able to wrestle her brother away from Payne, who then ran out of the home to a next-door neighbor’s house to ask for help.
Joy Gilbert told police she watched her brother change clothes and leave the house.
Payne then reportedly banged on a neighbor’s front door and said, “I’m bleeding really bad, call 911,” according to the arrest document.
A couple in their early 70s attempted to render aid to Payne as they spoke with dispatchers on the phone and waited for rescuers to arrive.
When asked who stabbed him, Payne responded “J’zell,” according to the affidavit.
Payne was pronounced dead at University Hospital about two hours after the stabbing.
Later in the morning, police conducted an interview with Joy Gilbert and issued a regional alert for J’zell. A pair of off-duty Aurora police officers located him around 12:15 p.m. the same day as he boarded an RTD bus near the intersection of East Mississippi Avenue and South Chambers Road.
Aurora officers Daniel Pell and Roland Albert arrested J’zell without incident.
J’zell’s first-degree murder trial is expected to run through April 17, according to Vikki Migoya, spokeswoman for the 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office.
Prosecutors have also slapped him with a trio of sentence enhancers for being a habitual criminal. Those charges would only come into effect if he were to be convicted.
J’zell has a lengthy criminal history in Colorado, having been previously arrested on attempted murder, marijuana and robbery charges, according to Colorado Bureau of Investigation records.
He was released from prison just four months before the fatal stabbing.
J’zell has continued to rack up charges since being incarcerated in the Arapahoe County jail, records show.
He’s accused of assaulting an Arapahoe County Sheriff’s deputy in his jail cell in October 2017, according to court documents.
J’zell was later placed on suicide watch after reportedly saying, “I’m gonna kill my motherf***ing self,” according to court documents.
A week after the incident in the jail cell, J’zell was accused of attempting to flee custody while getting a CT scan at Parker Adventist Hospital. Deputies tackled and captured him after he ran down a hallway in the hospital while shackled at the waist and ankles, and fled through an alarmed door.