A Houston woman’s ex-boyfriend was arrested this week for her September murder, which allegedly occurred after she left the relationship amid accusations of sexual assault.
Javon Gilbert, 29, was arrested on Jan. 20 in the slaying of his 28-year-old ex-girlfriend, Emmishae Kirby, according to a criminal complaint obtained by Oxygen.com.
Kirby disappeared on Sept. 18, police said. Her body was later recovered from Bear Creek Park on Oct. 3. An autopsy later confirmed her identity. She’d been strangled and shot in the head.
The couple had lived together until September, KHOU reported, but they split following an alleged domestic incident in which Kirby accused Gilbert of sexually assaulting her. The former couple exchanged texts in the days leading up to her death, investigators said.
“Further investigation and evidence obtained by detectives indicated Gilbert was with Kirby on the night of her death and determined he was responsible for her disappearance and death,” the Houston Police Department said in a news release.
Gilbert, who police said gave conflicting statements, admitted the couple had broken up due to the sexual assault allegation. Prosecutors also stated in court that he had frequently shown up at Kirby’s apartment unexpectedly, sometimes looking through her windows, according to KTRK-TV. He ultimately confessed to showing up at Kirby’s apartment unannounced on the night she died.
Surveillance footage from Sept. 18 later captured the former couple together and law enforcement suspects they went to a service station and a restaurant. Kirby is believed to have been murdered shortly after they had returned to her apartment.
Hours later, Gilbert was allegedly seen hauling a suspiciously large object from the apartment into Kirby’s vehicle in the complex parking lot. He later took Kirby’s vehicle, prosecutors said, and returned within the hour. Kirby’s corpse was found roughly six miles away from her apartment.
Gilbert was also filmed throwing the woman’s sofa and other personal belongings in a trash bin. He’s also accused of destroying other suspected evidence related to her murder, including a cell phone and financial records.
Gilbert was charged with murder, arson, and tampering with evidence. A Harris County judge set his bond on the murder charge at $250,000 on Jan. 20, online jail records show. He didn’t appear in court for a probable cause hearing due to mental health reasons, KTRK-TV reported.
“We’re going to fight the case, we just need time to look at all the evidence so we can properly defend Mr. Gilbert so he can have his day in court,” Adam Banks Brown, Gilbert’s defense attorney, told Oxygen.com. “I don’t think this is your run of the mill someone gets mad at his girlfriend and the police show up. This looks like it was a little more drawn out than that.”
Kirby’s mother had previously acknowledged her daughter’s death on Facebook, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
"As you all may have heard, Emmi has been found and positively identified," Angeleque Hughes wrote on social media. "May she, a true angel, rest in her transition. Thank you all for your undying love and support during this time."
In 2010, Gilbert was also charged with endangering a child, additional court documents obtained by Oxygen.com show. The following year he was jailed for resisting arrest. Both cases appear to have been dismissed, according to the filings.
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