A Brooklyn man was arraigned Monday on first and second degree murder charges after police say he lit an elderly woman on fire inside an elevator this past weekend. NY1's Rocco Vertuccio filed the following report.
With fresh burns scarring his face, accused murderer Jerome Isaac, 47, said nothing as he stood in Brooklyn Criminal Court Monday.
Prosecutors say he suffered the burns while setting Deloris Gillespie, 73, on fire this past Saturday.
He's charged with first and second-degree murder and arson.
"Based upon the nature of the crime alone I see a hard time for any court finding any mitigation that would not include a lifetime sentence," said prosecutor Ken Taub.
The gruesome crime was captured on surveillance cameras inside Gillespie's Prospect Heights apartment building.
Prosecutors say footage shows Isaac spraying Gillespie with a flammable liquid after ambushing her in the elevator. They say he then threw a Molotov cocktail inside the elevator.
Firefighters found Gillespie's burned body after they put out the fire.
Police say Isaac turned himself in and told police he set a fire and was upset with Gillespie because she had not paid him $2,000 for some work he did for her.
Brooklyn Councilwoman Letitia James -- who knew Gillespie -- says Gillespie's family told her she had written letters saying Isaac was threatening and harassing her. She says Gillespie was a postal worker who was very active in church and the community and even helped Isaac by giving him work.
"Unfortunately this individual decided to resolve a civil dispute by taking her life. It is heinous it is brutal," James said.
Gillespie is survived by three sons and a daughter who live out of state. They say they are holding off on funeral arrangements because they do not have the money.
Meantime, Councilwoman James has set up a fund for the family.
Donations for Deloris Gillespie can be sent to Carver Federal Savings Bank, to the Victims Rehabilitation Fund.
Carver Federal Savings Bank is located at 4 Hanson Place, Brooklyn, NY, 11217.
For more information, call (718) 260-9191.