PHILADELPHIA — A roofing contractor is facing charges of homicide and arson after authorities linked him to a body found in a burning Jeep last week in South Philadelphia.
Luiz Cruz, 39, was taken into custody on Jan. 25 in relation to the discovery. According to the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, police received reports of a 2019 Jeep Wrangler on fire in a parking lot on Jan. 21. After firefighters extinguished the blaze, police discovered a deceased man with a gunshot wound to the head wrapped in a blanket inside the vehicle. The Philly Voice reports the victim was identified as 43-year-old Joslyn Morgan.
The Medical Examiner’s Office later determined that the gunshot wound was inflicted at close range. In determining the motive, District Attorney Larry Krasner said Cruz “appears to have taken a man’s life over an argument about the quality of his roofing work.”
“Because of this murder, a man is forever lost to his family and community,” Krasner said in a written statement.
Authorities pieced together what happened using surveillance video from multiple locations, two phones found in the vehicle, and witness testimonies. According to police, Cruz had a falling out with Morgan, who was unsatisfied with the roofing work Cruz completed and refused to pay.
Prosecutors said when police executed a search warrant of Cruz’s home on Jan. 25, they found additional evidence linking him to the crime. When questioned, Cruz admitted to “key details of the crime” and detailed his efforts to dismember and destroy the victim’s remains.
Cruz is being charged with one felony count each of first-degree murder, first-degree arson, possession of a firearm prohibited, and one misdemeanor count each of possession of an instrument of crime, obstruction of justice, abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Feb. 12.