Authorities say a roofing contractor has been charged in the murder of a man whose body was found in a burning Jeep in a South Philadelphia parking lot a week ago.
Prosecutors on Tuesday announced charges against 39-year-old Luis Cruz, alleging that a dispute over work done on the victim's home led to the murder of 43-year-old Joslyn Morgan.
District Attorney Larry Krasner said in a statement that the defendant "appears to have taken a man’s life over an argument about the quality of his roofing work."
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Cruz was charged with murder, arson, weapons offenses, abuse of a corpse and related charges. Authorities allege that he apparently tried "to dismember the victim’s body and destroy the remains," Krasner's office said.
Someone called 911 just before noon on Jan. 21 to report smoke coming from a Jeep parked in the lot near the old Toys R Us store off Oregon Avenue near 3rd Street, Philadelphia police said.
Firefighters put out the fire then found Morgan, who hailed from Sprague Street in East Germantown, wrapped in a blanket in the back cargo area of the Jeep, which had New Jersey plates.
Medics pronounced Morgan dead a short time later as police began their investigation into the death, police said. An autopsy by the Philadelphia Medical Examiner’s Office later determined that the cause of death was a close-range gunshot wound to the head, Krasner's office said.
Video evidence from the parking lot along with two cellphones found in the Jeep and witness testimony helped authorities zero in on Cruz. Investigators learned that "Cruz had a falling out over the decedent’s dissatisfaction with Cruz’s roofing work and refusal to pay," the DA's office said.
Philadelphia police homicide detectives search Cruz's home and garage on Saturday, finding evidence linking Cruz to the killing, authorities said.
While being questioned, Cruz confessed to "key details of the crime" and detailed his attempt to dismember the body and destroy the remains, Krasner's office said.
"Because of this murder, a man is forever lost to his family and community," Krasner said.
Cruz remains jailed pending a Feb. 12 preliminary hearing; court documents don't list a defense attorney.
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