New Telegraph

September 30, 2023

US landlord convicted in viral video murder case


A US landlord has been found guilty of murdering two tenants in a case that made headlines when TikTok refused to take down video of the victims’ bodies.

Michael Dudley of Burien, near Seattle, was convicted of killing Jessica Lewis, 35, and Austin “Cash” Wenner, 27, reports the BBC.

In June 2020, Dudley, 64, shot and mutilated the victims before disposing of their remains in suitcases.

Later that month, three teenagers were making TikTok videos on a Seattle beach when they found the bodies.

Their footage of the discovery was viewed more than 30m times, but TikTok initially said the video did not violate their terms of service.

The company came under pressure from relatives of the victims, and the video was taken down several months later – although it is unknown whether it was deleted by TikTok or the teenager who initially posted it.

The three teenagers called police as soon as they discovered the suitcases, leading to the murder investigation.​​

The court in Seattle saw testimony from a neighbour who had heard gunshots and a man pleading for his life.

Police initially went to the home, but nobody answered. Dudley was later arrested.

Court documents indicate Lewis and Wenner got into a dispute over unpaid rent with Dudley, in whose home they were living.

Dudley will be sentenced in March and faces a maximum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.​

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