Tucson police searching for 2017 murder suspect find him — in SLO County Jail

After more than two years, Arizona police identified a suspect they believe killed a man in a hotel room in Tucson in 2017 — and luckily, the suspect was already in custody at San Luis Obispo County Jail.

Preston Scott Scruggs, 28, who was in custody here on charges of carrying a concealed dirk or dagger and violating the terms of his parole, was arrested Wednesday in connection with the Arizona case.

According to the SLO County Jail “Who’s in Custody” website, Scruggs was taken into custody Sept. 16.

The SLO County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release Wednesday that it was asked by the Tucson Police Department to assist in an investigation into a January 2017 homicide where a man was found dead inside a Travel Inn in Tucson.

Video surveillance from the hotel showed the victim entering the room, followed later by two Caucasian male adults who entered and then left.

The two men were later identified as Scruggs and James Russell Cook. According to the release, Cook confessed to the killing in 2018, but further investigation pointed to Scruggs being involved as well.

With the help of the Sheriff’s Office, Tucson police obtained DNA evidence and conducted an interview with Scruggs on Oct. 16.

At the conclusion of this joint effort, Scruggs was arrested on an extraditable homicide warrant out of Tucson, according to the release.

Scruggs will serve his remaining sentence on his charges in San Luis Obispo County and then be turned over to Tucson authorities.

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Kaytlyn Leslie writes about business and development for The San Luis Obispo Tribune. Hailing from Nipomo, she also covers city governments and happenings in the South County region, including Arroyo Grande, Pismo Beach and Grover Beach. She joined The Tribune in 2013 after graduating from Cal Poly with her journalism degree.