The memorial for Deloris Gillespie, the 73-year-old woman who was tragically burned to death by a man she knew as she returned home from grocery shopping on Saturday, December 17, will be held at First AME Zion Church, located at 54 Macdonough St., Brooklyn.
Gillespie was killed by 47-year-old Jerome Isaac because she allegedly owed him $2,000 for work he had previously done in her home, according to police.
He was indicted by a grand jury on Friday, December 23, for murder and arson. He is currently being held without bail and was indicted on 10 counts including murder in the first and second degree, as well as arson in the second degree.
Police first received a call of a fire inside an elevator of the Prospect Heights building at about 4:15 p.m. that Saturday.
Upon arrival, officers discovered an elevator on the fifth floor on fire. Gillespie's body was found charred after firefighters extinguished the blaze.
According to police, surveillance video showed Isaac standing outside the elevator on the fifth floor. When Gillespie began to exit the elevator, the video shows Isaac spraying her with gasoline. He then took out a lighter and lit her on fire as she huddled in the elevator.
She died of the burns and smoke inhalation.
Isaac fled the scene, but was quickly arrested on Sunday, December 18.
In the wake of her death, a rehabilitation fund for Gillespie has been set up to assist her family. The Carver Federal Savings Bank is accepting donations for the fund, which was set up by the community with the assistance of Councilwoman Letitia James, who knew Gillespie personally.
“We come together to support a local family in need today,” James said in a statement. “I believe that it is the responsibility of the community to hold up their neighbors in tragic times such as these.
“Therefore we will do whatever we can to make sense of this gruesome crime, and more importantly to help put the lives of the family members of Deloris Gillespie back together,” James added.
Family and friends remember Deloris as a generous, active member of her community; she fed and clothed the hungry and worked closely with the 77th Precinct Community Council. James described her as a dedicated U.S. Postal Service employee.
Donations for Deloris Gillespie can be sent to Carver Federal Savings Bank to the Rehabilitation Fund for Disaster Victims (the account number for deposits is 801281750). Carver Federal Savings Bank is located at 4 Hanson Place, Brooklyn, NY, 11217. For more information please contact (718) 230-2900.