WEST SEATTLE — A Burien man is now charged with two counts of first-degree murder, with a bail set at $5 million.
Police believe he killed a couple who was renting a room in his house, before dumping their remains. Their bodies were discovered inside a suitcase along Alki Beach in West Seattle.
Court documents say 62-year-old Michael L. Dudley was arrested from his Burien home Wednesday, by Seattle police.
Long-time neighbors say Dudley had lived there for 15 to 20 years.
“He was a nice man, he started out really, really well,” said Catherine Rogers, a neighbor.
Documents released say Dudley admitted to having arguments with the victims.
And that he told detectives, “He had charged them $1,500 a month in rent, but they were not able to pay it.”
“Over rent, that is crazy it’s over rent,” another neighbor said. “I can’t fathom that thought, that he would do that,” the neighbor said.
Other neighbors say the man they knew for years, recently started behaving strangely and wonder if other factors were involved.
“This summer things had really nose-dived,” Rogers said. “I used to be able to see his house and the laurels have all grown up,” she said. Dudley’s house is now barely visible from the street.
Investigators say CSI detectives found bullet holes, spent rounds, and blood in the room the couple was renting, and that “it was obvious the room had recently been painted and cleaned.”
The victims, identified as a 27-year-old Austin Wenner and 35-year-old Jessica Lewis, were shot and killed June 9 in the 16400 block of Ambaum Boulevard South in Burien.
Ten days later a group of teens found a large suitcase near the water in the 1100 block of Alki Avenue Southwest. Inside was a black trash bag and they were repelled by a foul smell. The teens called 911.
Their encounter was posted on the social media platform TikTok and has gone viral.
Seattle police later found multiple suitcases containing human remains that have since been identified as Lewis and Wenner.
One month later on August 19, a search warrant was served for the Burien home the suspect shared with the couple.
The suspect explained the blood saying that Lewis had cut herself, but he had no answers for the bullet holes. After the interview Wednesday, he was arrested and booked into the King County Jail in Seattle.
On Thursday, a judge found probable cause for two counts of first-degree murder. A charging decision is expected Monday.
© 2021 Cox Media Group