Remember the crazy story from yesterday where a man set a woman on fire in an NYC elevator? Well here are more details:
By the time Deloris Gillespie saw him, waiting on the other side of an elevator door, it was too late to escape. With her shopping bags in hand, she pushed open the door. There stood a man she knew, Jerome Isaac. He set upon her immediately, the authorities said, armed with a tank of fuel and a barbecue lighter, wearing white gloves and a surgical mask. He was angry, he would tell the police on Sunday, because he believed she owed him about $2,000 for odd jobs.
But there was no way Ms. Gillespie, 73, could have been prepared for what happened. Mr. Isaac, 47, methodically set the woman aflame, burning her alive in the elevator of her building in Brooklyn on Saturday, only a few feet from her apartment door, the police said. He sprayed the flammable liquid in the woman’s face and over her cowering body, and then lighted a Molotov cocktail to ignite the fire.
Within minutes, Ms. Gillespie was burning to death in the narrow cab, and her assailant had fled down the stairs. The attack lasted only a few minutes, all of it captured by surveillance cameras; the sheer, calculated brutality stunned even the most hardened of homicide detectives. Several hours later, Mr. Isaac, “reeking of gasoline,” turned himself in Sunday morning at a transit police station, and by the afternoon, the police said, he had confessed to the attack. He faces charges of first-degree and second-degree murder and arson.
Ms. Gillespie and Mr. Isaac lived less than two blocks apart in the Prospect Heights neighborhood. She had a reputation for trying to help people who were down on their luck. She gave food and shelter to the homeless and welcomed strangers into her apartment, sometimes hiring them for small tasks and chores, according to friends and relatives. That was how she came to know Mr. Isaac, they said.
Mr. Isaac was less known to neighbors. Some described him as being intelligent, well dressed and well spoken. But Mr. Isaac was mostly known for his penchant for collecting cans and bottles in the neighborhood; he was called “the recyclist.” Paul J. Browne, the chief spokesman for the New York Police Department, said that Mr. Isaac initially admitted to having set a fire, but later confessed to the immolation of Ms. Gillespie. They found some of the equipment he had used on the roof of 571 Lincoln Place, where he said he had hidden, Mr. Browne said.
He said that Mr. Isaac had also set a fire at his own apartment a few blocks away, at 315 Lincoln Place, on Saturday afternoon. Mr. Isaac suggested to the police that he may have suffered burn wounds to his face, hands and neck in that fire, which left the top and bottom of the door to Mr. Isaac’s second-floor apartment scorched and the hall smelling of gasoline. A next-door neighbor, Eric Charles, 42, said Mr. Isaac had lived in the building for several years and often rode a bicycle around the neighborhood collecting cans and bottles. Mr. Charles said he was shocked when he learned his neighbor had been charged with murdering Ms. Gillespie. “I would never think he was capable of that,” Mr. Charles said.
Wow. And all over $2,000 that she probably didn’t even really owe him, SMH. We know times are rough especially now that it’s holiday season, but this is just CRAZY.
R.I.P. Ms. Gillespie.