TikTok Suitcase Murders: Washington Landlord Murdered, Dismembered His Tenants After Alleged Rent Dispute
A landlord in Washington state will spend more than 46 years in prison for murdering two tenants, stuffing them in bags and leaving them to rot on a beach and in a river.
Michael Dudley, 62, learned his sentence April 7 after he was convicted of four counts of second-degree murder last December.
Authorities say Dudley shot and killed Jessica Lewis, 35, and Austin Wenner, 27, in the back in June 2020. They were staying in Dudley's home and reportedly had a dispute over rent.
Dudley then dismembered the two bodies, putting them in several bags in hopes they would sink in bodies of water.
According to KING-TV, a state investigative specialist does not think Dudley acted alone.
It was “likely with the aid of others,” charging documents said. They cite forensic anthropologist Dr. Kathy Taylor, who noted the cuts on the victims' bodies were “disorganized” and different devices were used.
The Seattle Times reported a group of teenagers found some of the dismembered remains inside a suitcase while recording a TikTok video.
Defense attorney Bradley Barshis said Dudley plans to file an appeal. He contends a group of people held Lewis and Wenner at gunpoint before the killings.
Dudley ironically spoke up for the victims during his sentencing hearing.
“In the end they did good, despite their pernicious nature.” Dudley said. “It’s about justice for Austin and Jessica.”
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