CRIME WATCH FOLLOWUP: Verdict in ‘suitcase bodies’ murders

(WSB photo, June 2020)

9:20 PM: Two and a half years ago, a police investigation along the West Seattle shore became national news, after it was revealed that teenagers had found body parts in a suitcase near Luna/Anchor Park and posted about their discovery on social media. The victims were eventually identified as 35-year-old Jessica Lewis and 27-year-old Austin Wenner, who had been renting a room at the Burien home of the man subsequently charged with their murder, Michael L. Dudley, now 64. He was charged with second-degree murder for allegedly shooting the victims to death and dumping their dismembered bodies in Elliott Bay and the Duwamish River. Dudley has been on trial in King County Superior Court, where this afternoon the jury announced their verdict: Guilty, according to the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. The verdict documents aren’t in the online files yet but we expect to get them tomorrow. Dudley has a felony record from the 1990s.

ADDED FRIDAY AFTERNOON: The charges were revised in September to four counts of second-degree murder, though there were two victims, Dudley was found guilty on all four counts, including the added circumstance of having used a gun. We asked KCPAO spokesperson Casey McNerthney about the four counts. He explains, “The four charges involved two different theories of murder. Those theories are intentional murder in the second degree and felony murder in the second degree. To make it easier to understand, prosecutors charged those in separate counts. Count 1 and 2 were charges of intentional murder in the second degree, one for each victim. Count 3 and 4 were charges of felony murder in the second degree, one for each victim.” But when Dudley is sentenced, he will be sentenced for two counts, McNerthney adds.

8 Replies to "CRIME WATCH FOLLOWUP: Verdict in 'suitcase bodies' murders"

  • 1994 December 8, 2022 (10:11 pm)

    What a horror and tragedy for the 2 people killed, and their families.  May Dudley spend the rest of his years in prison. 

  • Junction Lady December 9, 2022 (9:14 am)

    Unthinkable and so wrong!  Imagine the horror upon finding this suitcase that washed ashore!

    • Jay December 9, 2022 (11:21 am)

      It was some kids who found it and filmed it on TikTok. They called 911 but police did not respond to their call, they came hours later after a bunch of repeat calls.

  • Bixonalki December 9, 2022 (3:10 pm)

    Can someone clarify for me how it works out to have four counts of second degree murder with two victims.

    • WSB December 9, 2022 (3:19 pm)

      Yes, I actually asked the KCPAO that and am updating the story with the answer momentarily.

  • Tubbs McClintock December 10, 2022 (5:37 am)

       The SPD response (outlined by Jay) was terribly late. May these souls Rest In Peace. Does anyone know when the murders took place? 

  • Colonel Mustard's Wrench December 10, 2022 (10:34 am)

    So sorry for the victims and their families.

    Rot in a cage for the rest of your life – Dudley. You bring a whole new meaning to the term slumlord!  

    Did we ever have an explanation as to why SPD dragged their feet in responding to this ?  Shameful!

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