A man who killed a couple over a dispute in rent will be spending the rest of his life in jail. Pixabay


  • The man was found guilty of killing a couple at his home, which he was sharing with the victims
  • The remains of the couple were found by teens in a suitcase on a West Seattle beach in 2020
  • The landlord maintained his innocence during his sentencing

A 65-year-old man in Washington state who was convicted of the murders of a couple will spend the rest of his life in prison after he was sentenced to nearly five decades behind bars this week.

Michael Lee Dudley was sentenced Friday to 46 years and eight months in prison, KING 5 reported.

The landlord was found guilty of four counts of second-degree murder in December 2022, two years after killing his tenants Jessica Lewis, 35, and Austin Wenner, 27, and then putting their bodies into suitcases.

Dudley shot Lewis and Wenner in June 2020 at his residence in Burien, Washington, where the couple had been renting a room during the city's quarantine period.

According to court documents, there was an argument about unpaid rent moments before the shooting.

Neighbors called 911 after hearing gunshots and a man yelling, "Please don't do this, just let me leave," at Dudley's home, detectives said.

Several days later, teens found human remains in a suitcase along Alki Beach while they were on a scavenger hunt at Duwamish Head in West Seattle. They documented the discovery in a viral TikTok video.

It was later established by detectives that the suitcase belonged to Dudley and that the remains were those of Lewis and Wenner. The medical examiner's office ruled that the couple died of gunshot wounds.

Court documents alleged that Dudley dismembered Lewis and Wenner after killing them, separated their bodies into multiple bags and tried to hide them in different bodies of water.

During the investigation, detectives found bullet holes, spent rounds, and blood in the room that the couple was renting, according to court documents.

Investigators noted at the time that the room had recently been cleaned and repainted.

During the sentencing Friday, Wenner's mother Charlene Kriens expressed how devastated she was by her son's death, KIRO 7 reported.

"I will no longer get to see his beautiful smile, his sparkling eyes. I will no longer get to spend time in my garden with him and Jessica. I will no longer get to hear him say, 'Hey mom, happy birthday mom,'" she told the court.

Dudley continued to maintain his innocence, according to the outlet.

A prison fence
Michael Lee Dudley has been handed a 47-year jail term for murdering a couple over a dispute in rent in Seattle. phtorxp/Pixabay