State officials in Washington have announced that a man has been arrested in Los Angeles for the murder of a Spokane businessman that occurred 40 years ago. Police in Spokane, Washington, confirmed on Wednesday that 62-year-old Tracy Sabron Pruitt was arrested on October 27 and charged with first-degree murder.
Initially from Los Angeles, Pruitt is suspected of killing Archie Rutherford, 58, in Spokane’s South Hill neighborhood in 1982. A report from The Spokesman-Review states that Eleanor Rutherford, Rutherford’s wife, returned to their 27th Street residence on May 25, 1982, after being away for three days.
Rutherford was found dead with multiple stab wounds and a cracked skull
Former Spokesman-Review columnist Mrs. Rutherford discovered her husband unclothed with an electrical cord around his neck on the “blood-soaked bed” of their bedroom. According to the autopsy results, Rutherford was found dead with multiple stab wounds and a cracked skull.
It was first thought that Rutherford was sleeping during the attack before he was struck on the head, rendering him unconscious. According to the Spokesman-Review, coroner Lois Shanks stated that Rutherford had been stabbed multiple times in the head and neck.
Court documents acquired by CBS Spokane affiliate describe the murder as “extremely gory and savage.” Several bloody knives, several empty liquor bottles, and a broken decanter were discovered throughout the house.
The victim’s Honda vanished from the driveway, suggesting that whoever killed Rutherford took it with them. A short time and four miles later, the stolen car was found.
Spokane Police spokeswoman Julie Humphreys informed the Spokesman-Review in 2022 that the murder of Rutherford had gone unsolved for a long time.
Still, that DNA evidence had recently pointed to a suspect, and that suspect was Pruitt. According to reports, the Washington State Patrol’s crime lab found a match in June after testing the suspect’s blood that was left in the kitchen of the Rutherford home.
According to reports, Pruitt’s fingerprints matched those taken from the stolen Honda. Early in the inquiry, CBS’s affiliate reported that Tracy Pruitt was considered a suspect because of his use of Rutherford’s credit cards. Unfortunately, no one was ever arrested for the murder of Rutherford.
Ohio police said they arrested Pruitt in 1982 on suspicion of a separate rape and robbery
Ohio police said they arrested Pruitt in 1982 on suspicion of a separate rape and robbery. According to the police press release, “he was convicted for those offenses and served 27 years in prison.” As well as working as a night clerk at the Trade Winds Motor Hotel, which reopened in 2018 as a historic boutique hotel in downtown Spokane, Rutherford was a part owner of the family-owned Rutherford’s Triple XXX drive-in restaurants.
According to reports that investigators could not find any indication that Pruitt and Rutherford knew each other, leading them to conclude that the murder was random. In response to an arrest warrant issued on October 7 by the District Court of Spokane County, investigators from the Spokane Police Department’s Major Crimes Unit flew to Los Angeles.
Washington police said in a press statement that on October 27, they apprehended Pruitt on fugitive charges with help from the Los Angeles Police Department and the FBI Fugitive Task Force. The authorities estimate that extraditing Pruitt will take many months.
According to the Spokesman-Review, Eleanor Rutherford passed away in 1996.