A landlord accused of killing two tenants in 2020 was found guilty of four counts of second-degree murder on Thursday.
Michael Lee Dudley, 62, killed Jessica Lewis, 35, and Austin Wenner, 27. The remains of Lewis and Wenner were found in bags on Alki on June 19, 2020.
Court documents allege Dudley dismembered Lewis and Wenner after killing them, separated their bodies into multiple bags and tried to hide them in different bodies of water.
“This process would have taken a lot of time and effort and his willingness to take these extreme steps demonstrates the threat he poses to the community,” charging documents read.
This was done “likely with the aid of others,” according to charging documents. Dr. Kathy Taylor, Washington state forensic anthropologist, told Seattle police she believed there were possibly multiple people involved, because the cuts on Lewis and Wenner’s bodies were “disorganized” and done in different manners with different apparatuses.
Lewis and Wenner were renting a room in Dudley’s Burien home, and court documents indicate they got into a dispute over rent money.
Investigators said that 10 days before the bodies were discovered in West Seattle, neighbors heard yelling and gunshots at Dudley's home, but Dudley did not answer the door when Burien police responded.
After the guilty conviction, the mother of Wenner said she felt justice was served and that people in Seattle are now better protected.
"The world is a safer place without Michael Dudley in it," Charleen Kriens said. "Everybody can rest easy tonight because of that."
Kriens added that this conviction will allow the families to find healing and that the memories of Austin and Jessica will not be forgotten.
"My son is shining down from up above and saying, 'You got it mom,'" said Kriens.