Family: Suspect In Brooklyn Woman’s Burning Death Once Worked For Victim

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Police say handyman Jerome Isaac, 47, set his employer on fire in her own apartment building elevator as revenge over a financial dispute.

Investigators say he told them he was angry at Deloris Gillespie, saying the 73-year-old owed him $2,000.

Police say he dressed like an exterminator, with white gloves and a dust mask on his head, he had a canister of flammable liquid, used to methodically spray Gillespie head to toe before using a barbeque lighter to ignite a Molotov cocktail he threw it into the small elevator.

Gillespie was getting off the elevator at her Underhill Avenue apartment in Prospect Heights. She died in agony, cowering against the back of the elevator with her shopping bags.

torched Family: Suspect In Brooklyn Womans Burning Death Once Worked For Victim

The aftermath of the fire that claimed the life of Deloris Gillespie. (Credit:Alex Silverman WCBS 880)

“Sad, I started really crying,” said Evelyn Diaz, Gillespie’s friend. “What this person did to her I said ‘What went through your mind when you did that to this poor lady’?”

Gillespie’s distraught family and neighbors brought flowers and candles to the stoop of the building at 203 Underhill Avenue. Some said they had worried about her business arrangement with Isaac, nicknamed “Can Man” by some people in the neighborhood because he collected bottles, cans and other items for recycling.

Gillespie’s friends say she hired Isaac to do odd jobs around her apartment on the second floor. And they say the two had fights over money and she fired him.

Around the corner from the crime scene at 315 Lincoln Place is the second floor apartment Isaac shares with his brother.

Police say after he murdered Gillespie, he returned home and set small fires at the front of his own own apartment. Later, police say, with his clothes still smelling of gasoline he turned himself in.

Next door neighbor, Eric Charles, 42, said Isaac moved there several years ago.

“It’s really shocking and you recognized that’s the guy next door when they show me the pictures, even more crazy. I never thought something like that would happen,” he told CBS 2’s Dave Carlin.

Gillespie is survived by four adult children, three sons and a daughter, and also a grandchild.

LISTEN: WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman reports

Rickey Causey, Gillespie’s nephew, said that Isaac had worked for Gillespie but was fired after being caught stealing from her.

“Yeah, he was robbing her. So she fired him,” he told WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman. “She got three locks on the door.”

Causey was in the building Saturday but says he heard nothing.

“I should’ve been there. I should’ve been outside. I should’ve been there,” he said.

LISTEN: 1010 WINS’ Terry Sheridan reports 

Causey said that Isaac had left a list of chores on Gillespie’s door for which he was demanding payment.

Police charged Isaac with two counts of murder and one count of arson.

How can future acts of extreme violence be averted? You can voice your opinion in our comments section below…

  • David B

    Isn’t tea baggers a gay term and isn’t the democrat party the home team for gays? The dem party is like the island of misfit toys. JEWS, who will probably vote themselves into concentration camps one day by voting socialist. GAYS, who have to tolerate tea bagging being stolen from them. BLACKS, who vote for their former masters 130% of the time. ATTORNEY’S who say thanks for the cash they make off of the regulations. UNIONS who stuff the pockets of dems who give them crazy contracts so they can stuff the pockets of unioins who stuff the pockets……TEACHERS who teach that socialism is good and that it is also good for little girls and little boys to be taught to hate their president, vp, sec def sec state etc etc.

  • johnintoledo

    He needs the death penalty. We’ll show our respect for justice by killing. We’ll show mercy by not burning him to death.

    • LDAR

      well said.

  • donald

    View online

  • donald

    View online
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  • Final Minority

    Using anti second amendment logic I suggest we ban all fire starting devices, (matches, lighter, etc) and ban all flammable liquids.

    • STFU

      shut up… that wound stop fires, they can be created one way or another. Its the people who are hurting other people. why should everyone else be punished for one persons wrong doings…

      • FreeDotz

        I am pretty sure that was sarcasm. Moreover, while that man may have been the most at fault, I think that the local laws and regulations had a great deal at play. When criminals are given a warm bed, hot meals, three cigarettes a day, and cable tv — well I am sure that’s more luxury than this crack-head sees on the streets. While jail might be a deterrent for people who can already afford these things, it sure is an incentive for those who can’t.

      • Andy Tailor

        youre quite right old chap.. the only real key to it all is banning humans from being politicians

        • Robin

          Uh excuse me, but, I don’t know of any human who is a politician just saying

  • FreeDotz

    It’s sad to see so many potentially valid points lose all credibility because of racist undertones. It’s even more sad to see that the one person who has tried calling out all of the racists has lost all credibility because he links racism with the tea-party and the drudge report. While there may be a great deal of racists who agree with the tea party as well as frequent the drudge, they are all not one in the same. Your general grouping together of these three completely separate issues is almost as blind sighted as the all of the fools that attribute this mans horrible behavior with the fact that his skin is black.

  • Canadanowstrong

    Tea baggers! Oh right, a gay term is it? Are you? Are you all loving and powerful? Probably not, just a hater of people who are different in thought and race (you own perhaps). Hate your country, hate your race, hate all values and traditions you deem unworthy of your perception of Utopia! Sorry dude, had to say it, but your polorizing attitude is not helping your country, just like the one you put in the White House(can you still call it white or is that a bad word too?)

  • Tex A. Montana

    The last resort of a fool without a valid rebuttal is to cry “rasist”!

  • festering loadski


    search your heart…be honest…


    • shimmering bloadovich

      correction, learn about the black folk here.


    • shimmering bloadovich

      correction, learn about the black folk here.


  • Marcus

    Someone needs to sue the lighter companies or regulate them more. This should be illegal. Or more illegal.

  • Tex A. Montana

    Just another of the numerous examples of the murder of caucasions and mob violence perpetrated by Obama’s and Holder’s people (Holder refers to Black Panthers with clubs as my people). They feel empowered since the BKK (boy king from kenya) occupied the White House. Prepare for the mother of all murderous flash mobs when Obama fails to steal the 2012 election.

    • Count Yob

      Understandable error, since they hadn’t yet put up a photo of the victim when you posted. Media reports usually start out incomplete and error-ridden. That engenders a lot of confusion. Eventually (if we’re lucky) the news outlet supplies missing details and/or corrects the record.

  • racidnev

    D O U C H E B A G G E R

    • David B

      The Tea Party is called teabaggers by the left not douchbagger! Douchbaggers are the OWS “protesters” protesting for more Big-brother, paid for by Big-Brother. Tea Party people are real Americans that care that their country and constitution have been hijacked by mega spending socialists trying to destroy this country for their own sick socialist dreams…ows are fake paid for and organized by obama and van jones.

  • walletbiopsy

    Most likely there will a trial….what a waste of time. Just take him out back, pour lighter fluid on his clothes…..offer him one last cigarette……..

    • Wayne

      I agree… but only after the trial, at which he is duly convicted and sentenced. The waste of time is with the whole lethal injection nonsense.

      • LDAR

        thats if he gets to trial. he cannot be in solitary confinement for very long. or if he gets killed at the actual trial

  • Mike Alright

    Looks like the VAWA has succeeded. Right? Just think if we had more special rights laws that this could be avoided, right?

  • Ray Wray

    Fire Starter!!!

    • bigballski

      spoken like a true Affucan… but did you know Gillespie was black?
      a true Affucan wont cay ahh dat much

  • bigballski

    why is everyone so surprised.. they do it to each other everyday in Affuca..
    the feral creature left to his own devices prefers oppressive and brutal dicatatorships as evidenced by the FACT that the Affucan contintent is nearly 100 percent black and nearly 100 percent totalitarian dictatorships except for south africa established by “the whites”

    • Drew

      African. The place is called Africa. African continent.

      • Alfred Rosenberg

        If you want to get pedantic about it, Africa refers to Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt. Everything else further south is Ethiopia.

        • walletbiopsy

          Which African continent are you referring to. The one I lived in had 56 different countries, including the islands.

          • giant bloadski

            HERE YOU GO TRICKY


      • bigballski

        A F R I C A N .. sir.. indeed but more appropriately prounounced ” Affa’cuh’ ‘” referring the street slang derivation (amer.) I didnt want to confuse anyone

  • Paul Mcgrath

    Wait a minute. I got it. It’s so simple. Make fire illegal. Why didn’t anybody think of that before?

    In fact, we need to make illegal all guns, knives, arrows, swords, spears, clubs, batons, bats, pipes, re-bar, hatchets, hammers, mallets, rocks, bricks, grenades, missiles, rockets, torpedoes, tanks, nuclear bombs, vehicles, poison, and especially fire. Why hasn’t anybody thought of making all these things illegal before now?

    Why, why why? Darn, darn, darn, double darn… if only someone had thought of making these things illegal before! Sheesh!

    • eegor

      Don’t forget the forks, spoons, sticks, pens, pins, pencils, all tools, plastic bags, water (you might drown somebody), snowballs, ice, batteries, wire, rope, cables, cords, electricity, bottles, keys, etc.

      We’ve got to safe!

    • Jazbo

      Man, you are one more sick dude.

    • FreeDotz

      I thought NYC already made all of that illegal. Maybe if that poor woman had the right to bear arms she could have shot the SOB before he had a chance to light the match.

  • Buck Ofama


  • Vince

    Any bets that this crazy cretin has a rap sheet a mile long? When are the POLITICIANS going to stop PANDERING to the black community and start letting police WARN the community of dangerous animals. Soon they will find out that this guy was a walking time bomb who committed MANY crimes before. And how many times has this animal been released from jail by some liberal judge who DARED NOT protect the public because it might have been perceived as racist?

    • bigballski


  • bigballski

    TEst 123

  • GT

    Say what you will about the murderer’s anti-social behavior, but you have to admit, it adds new meaning to “fighting fire with fire”.

    • bigballski

      low life.

  • Melinda

    Your ignorance makes me laugh, God have mercy on you, for I that day you shall have to give an account for every idle word you have spoken. You certainly will not be so bold or confident in front of Almighty God when it comes to challenging him about his creation. All races have commit heinous crimes, this just happens to be a black person, you cannot associate all ill doing with race people are people and wickedness erupts from Satan not skin colour! Thats just another one of his plans and you are sad enough to fall for it, head first!

  • Sam

    Steal, get fired, trespass, murder. Didn’t even have to see a picture.

  • Melinda

    what has colour got to do with it??? I am a black police woman and I dont go around burning up people and neither do any black people I affiliate with. People of all races commit crime, and Yes certain areas possess ethnic groups with less chance of progression than others but this bears no consequence to making generalisations as you have done.

    • Kyant Herman

      sorry but the majority of communities with black or latino populations are crime infested. don’t deny reality….no more race card…your buddy jesse jackson,etc..ruined that card

      • FreeDotz

        Kyant, race has absolutely no bearing on this situation. The simple fact is that the system should have scooped this guy up years, if not decades before he had the chance to do this. I lived in NYC for 7 years and I know from personal experience that freaks like this are unfortunately not only tolerated, but encouraged to continue acting out of line. If they can’t find a place to sleep and a meal to eat, all they have to do is commit a petty crime and it’s off to jail with a nice warm bed and a hot meal. By committing this crime, this guy unfortunately won the crack-head lottery. NYC will never put this man to death. It’s 5 years of easy living, with free education, cable tv, and an early parole for this guy — and then he’ll be back on the streets to do it all again.

  • Joe Hadenuff

    “How can future acts of extreme violence be averted?”

    SLOW ROAST HIM IN TIMES SQUARE for a few days and make every NYC public school student AND EVERY DROP–OUT walk by and smell it.

  • Gene Zippy

    We are insane. We let the insane, who could murder again, to live. Yet? If someone was deemed sane when he committed a murder? He is the one we say should die. Its the insane one who should be automatically put to sleep. Not the sane one who might not murder again. Yet,,both should be served justice. You murdered? There is only one way to guarantee you will never cross that line again. Only one way.

    • Steve Chang

      If there was a TSA checkpoint in all bbuildings, this kind of thing would not happen!! GIVE UP YOUR RIGHTS AND LET THE NAZIS SAVE US… THEY ARE HERE TO HELP

  • KCEddie

    They should have shot him and save tax payers money !

  • Compton Singh

    How can future acts of extreme violence be averted?

    I suppose this is being asked just to start a dialogue with no discernible objective.

    Anyone familiar with the psychological makeup of the human being will know we cannot avoid this type of violence. The best we can do is educate people, but everyone has an opinion about what education is or should be.

    Then there is the problem of mental illness and temporary insanity due to rage.

    I don’t think we can avoid this.

    • tv

      Mayor Bloonberg should take away matches and fire from all NYC’ers.

      Some of you obviously cannot be trusted with fire……just like firearms and conceal carry.

  • Bryan Wilcutt

    The perp will be found insane and sent off to a padded room with TV, 3 square meals a day, and exercise…. it’s like he’ll win a life time trip to Club Med.

  • Anthony

    She should of had a Gun. Pro 2nd Amendment and Pro Constitution. Ron Paul 2012 from Florida

    • Spanky

      She wouldn’t have been able to pull out her weapon and fire before she was engulfed in flames.

      • Joe Hadenuff

        she could have shot him the first time she caught him stealing.

        You stupid anti-gun whack jobs should put “THERE ARE NO GUNS IN THIS HOUSE” on your front doors and your bedroom windows.

      • Rifleman

        How the heck could you know that from reading the story? How long exactly did it take him to squirt fuel on her and then light it with a lighter. A trained and practiced person can employ a handgun very quickly. He might have had a harder time operating the lighter after a double tap. You’re silly Spanky.

        “An armed society is a polite society.” – Robert Heinlein
        It is not the cops role to protect you. If you want to not be a defenseless victim, you must be prepared to protect yourself.

      • FreeDotz

        Pulling a gun out of your pocket/purse and pulling the trigger doesn’t take anywhere near as long as it does to pull out a gas can, douse your victim with gasoline, and then reach into your pocket, pull out a box of matches, open the box of matches, take out a match, strike the match, and then throw the match at your victim. I don’t care how old this woman was, the math involved here was clearly on her side. It’s a shame that her local laws weren’t.

  • Becker

    It is difficult to know someone’s limit, the criminal no doubt felt justified, the criminal stole from the victim, the victim fired him and the criminal felt justified in killing the victim, this is a very strange and over kill form of retribution. Read the book, Why They Kill by Rhoades. It will help you know how violent a person is. If they are violent by nature, there is no solution. You will need to be ready for kill or be killed scenario.

    • Buck Ofama

      >the criminal no doubt felt justified,

      Oh, in that case (sniff, snivel) they should let the poor thing (sniff, sob) go free and (sob, boo hoo) seize the victim’s property and give it (snivel) to the poor perp.

  • John

    I wonder if this helps or hurts our image in other countries. Come to America, and get toasty!

  • S.O.B.

    “wreaking of gasoline”? Wow. Must be a public school student.



    • David Powell

      Who says he actually did the work, and who says he wasn’t paid if he did? Can’t just go on the word of a murderer, if he had a case he should have called Judge Judy. He is an murdering crook and a vicious punk and needs to die now.

  • D

    The answer is to ban flammable liquids.

    • pancholopez

      LOL…yea!!! Even better than that let’s make all fire illegal or maybe even heat itself. ÷)

    • D as in DUMB

      And when people find other things that they can use to kill people, then what?

      People like you never ever understand root causes.

      • babydriver

        D as iin Dumb is right .

      • an

        Sarcasm anyone? (over your head)

  • squeegeeman

    Soak him down, Light the match.

  • Vietvet68

    Thisis a racist hate crime.

  • WildMan

    Carry a gun and know how to use it, that is the ONLY answer to this sort of violence in a decaying America. The old America would not have had this sort of violence because there would have been work enuff for everyone.

  • S. Nunya

    “How can future acts of extreme violence be averted?”

    First of all,you can establish a “justice” system that puts people to the rack,draws and quarters them,and still this sort of thing will happen.
    “fixing the justice system” so that all the evil,no goodniks featured on the nightly news “get what they deserve” will not fix anything.

    Violence,sadly,is a reality of life.

    But I wonder…..if the victim in this story had a gun,would she still be dead?

    • D.C.

      No, she would not be dead, someone else would be deservedly dead. She did not deserve this.

  • Dude

    Wreaking? Bwahahahahahaha.

  • TJP

    Burning to death is about the most horrible way you can go. A simple execution doesn’t seem enough for this guy, but it would be a start.

  • Armed Texan


    • 2inthehat

      omg, you are so going to hell for that. i hate to say it but: lol

      • Armed Texan

        I’ll have a beer waiting for you. Sorry if it’s not cold.

      • Armed Texan

        I’ll have a beer waiting for you.

  • Daniel

    Never fire someone for stealing. Instead, go to the police to report the incident and tell them you want the theif prosecuted. Offenders need to know at once that they are out-numbered.

  • Osamas Pajamas

    No parole for first offense, 25-year minimum sentence, let them eat rice and wear pink and work in the sun like Sheriff Joe makes them do.

  • xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    That was funny along with the low class Jets

  • D

    Another loser firefighter

  • Amie

    It’s “reeking” of gasoline, not “wreaking”! Please get it right!

    • David Heath

      Still haven’t been bothered to correct…

      • zaanga

        who cares…a woman was burned to death and you worry about spelling IDIOT

        • Linda Moore

          Nope, got it wrong again. The idiot is the one that cannot spell.

          And, finding acceptable the inability to not spell or know grammar is another sign of public school education.

          Cut public school budgets drastically, fire union teachers (they are not held accountable for teaching) because their bloated (70% of school budget) administration is run by people who cannot spell but only spend.

          Spend money on teaching children instead of out of control administrative management and costs.

  • Denise E. Rogers

    I’m hoping that you are not serious, please say that you are not serious, because your comment is the most cold-hearted thing I have EVER EVER read from anyone. Puck your football game.

    • jb2817

      Tool smoke,,,dirty sanchez butt slams that fat pig ryan after every game

  • radicaltruth

    death penalty – quick and decisive

    • Denise E. Rogers

      You people have been in that city for too long and it appears only care about yourselves, unless of course there’s a terrorist attack and it’s affecting you.

  • Bill E Bob
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