Man sentenced to 46 years for killing tenants, stuffing bodies in suitcases found on Seattle beach

The Washington landlord who murdered his two tenants and dismembered them was sentenced to more than 46 years in prison. The victims' remains were in suitcases found by teens making a TikTok on Alki Beach in 2020.

Michael Dudley, 65, was found guilty of two counts of second-degree murder for the deaths of 35-year-old Jessica Lewis and her partner, 27-year-old Austin Wenner.

Michael Dudley, 64, was found guilty of two counts of second-degree murder for the deaths of 35-year-old Jessica Lewis and her partner, 27-year-old Austin Wenner. (FOX 13 Seattle)

The pair were discovered on June 19, 2020. A few teens were making a TikTok on Alki Beach because they had found suitcases that had washed up on the beach. They were filming themselves about to open the suitcases, thinking there would be money or knick knacks inside.

Instead, when they got close to the suitcases, they were hit with a strong smell of death.

According to Seattle Police, the teens called authorities and waited several hours for officers to arrive. By then the suitcase was nearly washed out to sea by the ebbing tide.

King County Sheriff's deputies discovered human remains in that suitcase.

The video of the TikTokers' discovery of the suitcases went viral on the platform, being viewed over 30 million times. The video didn't show anything graphic, just the suitcases, but the caption indicated that human remains were inside.

Three days later, deputies found another suitcase in the Duwamish Waterway. There were human remains in that one as well.

The remains were later identified as that of Lewis and Wenner.

The King County Medical Examiner's Office determined Lewis died from multiple gunshot wounds and Wenner died from a gunshot wound to the torso, both on or about June 9.

Through the investigation, detectives were led to Dudley.

The two victims had been renting a room from Dudley at his Burien since December 2019, according to documents. Prosecutors said Dudley became angry with the two of them over rent payments.

By the time Dudley was arrested Aug. 19, 2020, he had over two months to "clean up his home," prosecutors told the juror during the trial.

Bullet holes in the apartment had been repaired and painted over shortly before investigators searched his home.

Police never found the gun used in the shootings, but found a small smudge of Wenner's blood in the bedroom where investigators believe one or both victims were dismembered.

The suitcases were later determined to belong to Dudley.

The state also used cell phone data during trial to show that the night of the reported shooting (June 9), Lewis’s phone stopped sending texts. They similarly used data to show that Dudley was near the vicinity of Alki Beach the day before the grisly discovery of a suitcase with human remains inside.

He was found guilty by a jury on Dec. 6, 2022 and sentenced to 560 months in prison on April 7, 2023.