Aurora man who stabbed sister’s boyfriend to death sentenced to 72 years in prison

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Pictured: J’zell Gilbert. Photo provided by the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office.

AURORA | A 29-year-old Aurora man was sentenced to more than seven decades in prison this week for the fatal stabbing of his sister’s boyfriend two years ago, according to the 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office. 

An Arapahoe County District Court Judge sentenced Jzell Gilbert, 29, to 72 years in prison Sept. 30, according to Vikki Migoya, spokeswoman for the local DA’s office.

The sentence was handed down nearly six months after a jury convicted Gilbert of second-degree murder.

It took jurors about six hours to determine Gilbert fatally stabbed his sister’s boyfriend, 34-year-old David Payne, shortly before 8 a.m. on June 23, 2017 in an Aurora home they shared on East 13th Avenue in north Aurora.

The two men got into an argument that resulted in Gilbert stabbing Payne at least seven times in the neck, back, chest and arm using a pocket knife, according to court documents. 

Gilbert then fled the home and Payne ran to a neighbor’s house to ask for help. Despite receiving aid from neighbors, Payne was pronounced dead at University Hospital about two hours later.

Aurora police arrested Gilbert on an RTD bus near East Mississippi Avenue and South Chambers Road about four hours after the stabbing.

The statutory maximum sentence for second-degree is 48 years, according to Migoya, but Judge Ben Leutwyler determined Gilbert was a habitual offender and increased his sentence with enhanced charges. 

Gilbert has a lengthy criminal history in Colorado, having been previously arrested on attempted murder, drug possession and robbery charges, according to Colorado Bureau of Investigation records.

Gilbert continued to rack up charges while incarcerated at the Arapahoe County jail in recent years, records show. He’s accused of assaulting an Arapahoe County sheriff’s deputy in his jail cell in October 2017, according to court documents. 

A week after the incident in his jail cell, Gilbert was accused of attempting to flee custody while getting a CT scan at Parker Adventist Hospital.

Gilbert is due back in Arapahoe County District Court early next year to face his assault and escape charges, according to county records.