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Neighbors Hold Vigil In Memory Of Brooklyn Woman Burned Alive In Elevator

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Deloris Gillespie (credit: Councilwoman Letitia James)

Deloris Gillespie (credit: Councilwoman Letitia James)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Neighbors remembered a Brooklyn mother of four who was burned alive in an elevator over the weekend at a vigil Tuesday night.

Deloris Gillespie, 73, died Saturday after she was doused with gasoline and set ablaze in the elevator of her Prospect Heights apartment building.

Tuesday night, members of the community came together to light candles in Gillespie’s honor and pray.

Her alleged attacker, 47-year-old Jerome Isaac, was arraigned on Monday, charged with murder and arson. He is being held without bail. His attorney asked to keep Isaac in solitary confinement, and also to receive medical attention for the extensive burns on the left side of his face.

Gillespie’s funeral is planned for after Christmas, according to City Council member Letitia James.

A makeshift memorial with flowers and candles grace the entrance to the six-story apartment building where Gillespie lived.

Gillespie worked nights sorting mail at an East New York postal facility and regularly attended services at the Brotherhood Baptist Church. She was also active in her community often helping organize events and attending council meetings trying to keep crime out of the neighborhood.

She is survived by her daughter, three sons and grandchild.

Gillespie’s friends said she hired Isaac to do odd jobs around her. Isaac was allegedly angry with Gillespie, claiming she owed him $2,000.

Police said Isaac waited for Gillespie outside an elevator she was riding in. When the elevator door opened, police said Isaac stepped into the car and began methodically spraying Gillespie with a flammable liquid, dousing her from head to toe as she struggled to avoid the spray.

Police said Isaac then tossed a Molotov cocktail into the elevator, setting it ablaze. Gillespie died of burns and smoke inhalation, according to the criminal complaint.

Police said Isaac later turned himself in and confessed to the crime. He allegedly reeked of gasoline when he surrendered.

Isaac is due in court Friday.

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