Last December, a 73-year-old woman died after being set on fire in her Prospect Heights apartment building's elevator. Brooklyn man Jerome Isaac was later arrested, and allegedly confessed to the crime. Now, the 48-year-old Isaac is expected to accept a plea deal. But that doesn't mean he'll be getting out of prison anytime soon...or possibly ever.
Isaac will be offered a deal of 50 years to life in exchange for his guilty plea to murder and arson charges in the death of Delores Gillespie. "Whatever plea deal is struck, it would result in a very significant sentence," defense lawyer Howard Tanner noted.
Gillespie's daughter Sheila Hillsman told the Daily News she was happy with the deal because it assured that Isaac won't be eligible for parole before age 97: "Basically he will die in jail,” Hillsman said. “I'm satisfied with that because he shouldn't be out in the streets again. It's too bad that New York doesn't have the death penalty because I believe they should do to him exactly what he did to my mother."
The horrifying incident occurred on Dec. 17 around 4:15 p.m. in Gillespie's apartment building at 203 Underhill Ave. in Prospect Heights. Gillespie had just returned from grocery shopping when the elevator stopped on the fifth floor—the attacker, who was dressed as an exterminator, doused her from head to toe with an accelerant as she cowered in the corner clutching her groceries. The attacker set a Molotov cocktail on fire, and used the wick to set her ablaze; he then lobbed the Molotov cocktail inside the elevator.
The whole scene was captured on two surveillance tape cameras in the elevator. Gillespie was pronounced dead at the scene, while five other tenants suffered minor injuries. It's believed that Isaac was upset that Gillespie had not paid him for various odd jobs he performed for her—he claimed she owed him $2,100 for cleaning her apartment over a five-month period. Gillespie’s nephew, Rickey Causey, had said Isaac worked for Gillespie, who was known as a bit of a hoarder, but was fired after being caught stealing from her.