Austin Wenner and Jessica Lewis. Photo courtesy of Gina Jaschke

Austin Wenner and Jessica Lewis. Photo courtesy of Gina Jaschke

Landlord sentenced to 46 years in prison for deaths of Austin Wenner, Jessica Lewis

The remains of Wenner and Lewis were found in suitcases along Alki Beach in West Seattle in 2020.

The King County Superior Court sentenced a Burien landlord convicted for the murder of two tenants, 27-year-old Austin Wenner and 35-year-old Jessica Lewis, to 46 years and eight months in prison.

At 65 years old, the sentence will likely serve as a life sentence for Michael Dudley.

A jury trial convicted Dudley of four counts of murder in the second degree on Dec. 8, 2022, at the conclusion of a trial beginning Sept. 13.

The court vacated two of four of Dudley’s convictions at his sentencing hearing on April 7.

The sentencing serves as the conclusion of a nearly three-year case.

Remains

On June 19, 2020, a young woman and her friends filming videos for the social media platform, TikTok, discovered a suitcase on Alki Beach with a black trash bag inside, emanating a “foul” smell. Seattle police and firefighters searched the surrounding area and water and discovered dismembered human remains in several trash bags and duffle bags.

The identification of the remains as Wenner’s and Lewis’s led Seattle police to Dudley, the couple’s landlord, according to an affidavit of probable cause.

Family members last saw Wenner and Lewis in Renton prior to disappearing, according to statements they provided to police.

Prosecutors charged Dudley with two counts of murder in the second degree on Aug. 24, 2020, after a police investigation determined Dudley shot Wenner and Lewis to death on June 9, 2020, in a home they rented the upstairs bedroom from, likely for not paying rent and bringing potential criminal activity into the home.

According to King County prosecutors, Dudley dismembered Wenner and Lewis and attempted to hide them in two different waterways.

“The atrocities inflicted on the bodies of the victims after their murder has greatly increased the anguish and suffering of their families,” said King County prosecutors in documents.

Sentencing

“On June 9th, Michael Dudley made the choice to kill, dismember and dispose of my son and Jessica’s bodies, changing our lives forever,” said Charleen Kriens, Wenner’s mother at Dudley’s sentencing hearing.

Kriens said Dudley deserved to be punished to the fullest extent of the law without the possibility of parole.

“He deserves to spend the rest of his life without freedom — without free will,” Kriens said at the hearing. “Please keep our communities, our family, our friends, our children and our pets safe from Michael Dudley.”

Dudley’s lawyers filed an appeal after Dudley’s sentencing to the Washington State Court of Appeals.


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