Man charged with setting elderly woman on fire over $2,000 debt.
The man suspected of dousing a 73-year-old woman with gasoline and then setting her on fire inside her Brooklyn apartment building elevator has been arraigned on charges of murder and arson.
Jerome Isaac of Brooklyn was arraigned Monday in the death of 73-year-old Deloris Gillespie.
His lawyer requested solitary confinement and medical attention and did not speak outside court.
The 47-year-old Isaac reeked of gasoline when he entered a police station overnight and implicated himself in Gillespie's death, NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said Sunday.
Gillespie was ambushed in the elevator of her Brooklyn apartment building on Saturday afternoon, Browne said.
The suspect had been waiting for her when the elevator doors opened to the fifth floor of her building in Prospect Heights, police said.
"It was apparent he knew she was on the elevator," Browne said.
After setting Gillespie ablaze, Isaac went to his apartment building just blocks away and set a fire there.
He then hid on a roof before turning himself in to police, Browne said.
Isaac told police that Gillespie owed him $2,000 from some work he had done for her.
The attack happened shortly after 4 p.m., lasted about a minute and was recorded by two video cameras, including one inside the small elevator.
"I should have been there," said Gillespie's nephew Rickey Causey, who lived with his aunt in apartment 5E. The elevator was just a few feet away from the apartment, where he was inside at the time. "I should have been outside," he said, crying.
"I didn't know what was going on at first," he added. "I knew the elevator was on fire. But I didn't know nobody was on it."
Police released still images of the suspect Saturday night, showing him in a black jacket, wearing what appear to be surgical gloves and with a white dust mask perched atop his head like a pair of sunglasses.
He is holding what appears to be a canister with a nozzle and spraying as he steps into the elevator.