Suspect Pleads Not Guilty in Elevator Torching Death

He said the victim owed him money for cleaning her apartment.

Thursday, Jan 19, 2012  |  Updated 1:15 PM EDT
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The man accused of attacking a 73-year-old woman with a Molotov cocktail and setting her on fire inside an elevator is facing charges of murder. John Noel reports.

NBC New York

The man accused of attacking a 73-year-old woman with a Molotov cocktail and setting her on fire inside an elevator is facing charges of murder. John Noel reports.

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Man Arrested in Elevator Torching

Jerome Isaac of Brooklyn was charged Sunday with dousing a 73-year-old woman in flammable liquid and tossing a Molotov cocktail on her in an elevator, police said. Isaac told police he set her on fire because he was angry that she owed him $2,000, authorities said. Jonathan Vigliotti reports. Read full story here.
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The man suspected of dousing a 73-year-old woman with gasoline and then setting her on fire inside an elevator said in a statement to police that she owed him money for cleaning her apartment.

Jerome Isaac, of Brooklyn, was arraigned on a charge of first-degree murder Thursday in the death of Deloris Gillespie, and pleaded not guilty. Prosecutors filed paperwork in court that included statements he made to police.

Gillespie "owed me some money for some work I did for her. I told her to give me $300. I was cleaning up her apartment for about four or five months and she never paid me" the statement said.

Gillespie was ambushed in the elevator of her Brooklyn apartment last month. The suspect had been waiting for her when the elevator doors opened to the fifth floor, police said.

A security camera captured the horrific scene, and Isaac told police that "if the video wasn't there you would still be looking for me."

He also admitted he was the person in the video and that he set the fire.

Defense attorney Howard Tanner has said he would "evaluate all possible defenses" but has not elaborated.

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