DA Vance: Bismark Lithgow Sentenced to 21-Years-to-Life for the 2013 Murder of His 19-Year-Old Girlfriend

April 1, 2015

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the sentencing of BISMARK LITHGOW, 26, to 21-years-to-life for fatally stabbing his 19-year-old girlfriend, a member of the Deaf community, in his Harlem apartment in February 2013. On March 6, 2015, a New York State Supreme Court jury found LITHGOW guilty of the sole count in the indictment against him, Murder in the Second Degree. 

“As revealed at trial, Bismark Lithgow had a history of irrational and controlling behavior in relationships, even attempting to hire a hitman to kill an ex-girlfriend whom he believed had been unfaithful,” said District Attorney Vance. “In this case, Lithgow made multiple unsuccessful attempts to purchase a gun after he believed his girlfriend, Francis Pellerano, was flirting with other men on social media. Eventually, he stabbed her to death as she was planning to leave the relationship.
“My Office is committed to helping victims of domestic violence of all backgrounds, including working to enhance services for members of the Deaf community — of which the defendant and victim were members — or those who are hard of hearing. If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, please call my Office’s Domestic Violence hotline at 212-335-4308 or our Text Telephone (TTY) line at 212-335-9500. American Sign language translators are also available, upon request, at the New York City Family Justice Center in Manhattan located at 80 Centre Street. The National Domestic Violence Hotline additionally offers services for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing. Help is available for those in need.”

As proven at trial, on or about February 28, 2013, LITHGOW stabbed his 19-year-old girlfriend, Francis Pellerano, 38 times in his apartment located on the corner of West 140th Street and 7th Avenue in Harlem. When NYPD officers arrived at LITHGOW’s apartment responding to a 911 call nearly three days later, they discovered the victim’s body inside a barrel in LITHGOW’s room. A black plastic bag containing a knife and blood-covered towels was found next to the barrel. 

Assistant District Attorney Dafna Yoran prosecuted this case with Assistant District Attorney Ryan Hayward, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Alfred Peterson, Chief of Trial Bureau 70, and Executive Assistant Attorney John Irwin, Chief of the Trial Division. 

Defendant Information:

BISMARK LITHGOW, D.O.B. 10/18/1988
New York, NY

•    Murder in the Second Degree, a class A felony, one count

•    21-years-to-life