A Washington state jury found a landlord guilty of killing two tenants and stuffing their dead bodies into suitcases.
The jury decision comes after Michael Dudley, 64, killed both Jessica Lewis and her boyfriend Austin Wenne. The couple’s bodies washed ashore inside suitcases on Alki Beach in Seattle in 2020, according to FOX 13.
A neighbor reported gunshots in Burien, Washington on June 9, 2020, as well as a man pleading for his life, but officers didn’t find anyone in the home. When asked by police, Dudley couldn’t explain why he wouldn’t answer the door for police.
Using cell phone data, officials learned that Lewis stopped sending texts on the night of the alleged shooting. Also using cell phone data, the landlord, Dudley, was found to have been near Alki Beach just one day before officials discovered the suitcase with the bodies inside.
Prosecutors didn’t have eyewitnesses to directly link the landlord to the murders but relied on evidence that they argued proved Dudley’s guilt, and pointed toward the neighbor.
Lewis and Wenne were both Dudley’s tenants.
Prosecutors said that Wenne was shot at least one time and Lewis was shot at least twice before the couple was mutilated and put into suitcases.
Lawyers for the landlord argued that the 62-year-old wasn’t capable of pulling the crime off.
Lewis’ aunt, Gina Jaschke, said that she has trouble looking at Dudley.
“I’m just hopeful his reign of terror comes to an end,” said Jaschke. “I just look at him and I can’t imagine what he’s done to them. It’s hard, really hard.”