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January 28, 2020

Roofing contractor charged in death of man found burning in South Philly SUV

Investigations Homicides
Luis Cruz Homicide Source/Philadelphia Police Department

Luis Cruz, 40, allegedly killed a man who refused to pay him for roofing work, according to prosecutors. The victim's body was found inside of a Jeep Wrangler set on fire in South Philadelphia on Jan. 21, 2019.

A roofing contractor has been charged with homicide, arson and related offenses in connection with the death of a man who was found in a burning vehicle last week in South Philadelphia, prosecutors announced Tuesday.

Luis Cruz, 40, was taken into custody Saturday amid an investigation into the Jan. 21 incident.

That morning, police received a report of a 2019 Jeep Wrangler on fire at a parking lot on the 2700 block of South 3rd Street.

Firefighters were extinguishing flames from the vehicle when officers arrived. They found a deceased man with a gunshot wound to his head wrapped inside a blanket in the vehicle, police said. The Medical Examiner's Office later determined the wound came from a close-range shot. 

The victim was identified as Joslyn Morgan, who was 43. 

Authorities used surveillance video from multiple locations in the parking lot and confiscated two cell phones from the vehicle.

Witness testimony provided to police allegedly indicated that Cruz had a falling out with Morgan, who was a client and wasn't satisfied with roofing work Cruz completed, according to prosecutors. Morgan allegedly refused to pay Cruz for the work.

When authorities executed a search warrant at Cruz's home, they allegedly found additional evidence linking him to the crime. Prosecutors said Cruz confessed to key details of the crime and an attempt to destroy the victim's remains.

“Because of this murder, a man is forever lost to his family and community," District Attorney Larry Krasner said. "In addition to prosecuting this case, my office is working to make sure trauma-informed services and resources are available to the victim’s grieving loved ones.”

A preliminary hearing for Cruz is scheduled for Feb. 12.