NEW YORK, U.S. -- A New York City man has pleaded guilty to fatally burning an elderly woman inside the elevator of her apartment building.
Prosecutors announced Wednesday that Jerome Isaac had pleaded guilty to first-degree murder, arson and torture in the December 2011 death of Deloris Gillespie in Brooklyn.
Murder: Delores Gillespie (left) was doused in petrol and set alight in an elevator by Jerome Isaac (right), who has now pleaded guilty to her murder. His burned face is pictured in court after the December attack
The plea bargain calls a sentence of 50 years in prison.
Prosecutors say Isaac attacked the 73-year-old woman because he believed she owed him money. They say he doused her with gasoline, lit her on fire and then threw a firebomb inside the elevator.
The attack was caught on surveillance cameras attacking the woman after she returned home from buying groceries.
After lurking outside her apartment waiting for her to come home, he sprayed gasoline across her face and body before setting her on fire with a Molotov cocktail, according to police. The elderly woman cowered in the corner of the elevator and tried to shield herself, but neighbours said they heard her screams of agony as she burned to death while her alleged killer fled the scene.
The horrifying attack lasted one minute and was caught on two surveillance cameras at the apartment block. Ms Gillespie was pronounced dead at the scene. Isaac had lived with Ms Gillespie while he worked for her doing odd jobs, according to reports. He claimed that Gillespie was a former employer who had failed to pay him a $2,000 (N310,480) bill.
Yet family members said she had refused to pay him because she had found him stealing from her. He eventually handed himself in, still reeking of gasoline and with the left side of his face blistered and peeling from the deadly inferno he created in the elevator.
As he appeared in court in Brooklyn on Wednesday, his face was still scarred with burns that he sustained during the gruesome killing.
But the judge had no sympathy. 'You acted in an especially cruel and wanton manner, intending to inflict and inflicting torture,' Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice told Isaac.
Speaking to the journalists, Gillespie's daughter Sheila Hillsman, 49, said: '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.'
Isaac is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 30.