47 year old Jerome Isaac was arrested on murder and arson charges in the death of 73-year-old Deloris Gillespie. Cops say Isaac walked into a police precinct overnight and told authorities he had started a fire.
Doris Gillespie burned to death in the elevator Saturday, police said. Isaac was waiting for her when the elevator doors opened to the fifth floor of the apartment building in Prospect Heights. The man sprayed Gillespie with an accelerant and set her on fire with a Molotov cocktail, New York City police spokesman Paul Browne said. OMG!
Isaac is reportedly an unhappy handyman who was upset over a $2,000 unpaid bill.
The brutal attack happened shortly after 4 p.m., lasted about a minute and was recorded by two video cameras, including one inside the small elevator.
The video showed the elevator doors opening to the floor where Gillespie’s apartment was located and the assailant, Isaac, stepping in and spraying her, Browne said.
Gillespie, who had grocery bags in her arms, turned about 180 degrees and then crouched in an attempted to protect herself, he said. But the man sprayed her directly in the face and continued to spray her “sort of methodically” over her head and parts of her body as the bags draped off her arms. She turned around and retreated to the back of the elevator.
At some point, Browne said, the suspect then pulled out a barbeque-style lighter, used it to ignite a rag in a bottle and then waited for a few seconds before using the flames to set her afire, causing smoke to fill the elevator.
The man backed out as she fell to the floor of the elevator, Browne said, and seemed to pause before tossing the bottle inside the elevator and onto her. Browne would not comment on the motive in the killing, but said the suspect knew his victim.
Neighbors reported a fire in the building, unaware that the woman was burning to death in the elevator. Residents were evacuated from the six-story building for hours Saturday night.
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