Airbnb murder

  • An Australian man was sentenced to 11 years in prison for killing a guest who was staying at his Airbnb listed-home. 
  • The 36-year-old guest was held down and strangled for failing to pay a $AU210 ($149) bill for his stay. 
  • Jason Colton was initially charged with murder but ultimately pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

An Australian man was sentenced to 11 years in prison for killing a guest who was staying at his Airbnb listed-home.

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Ramis Jonuzi, 36, was killed in October 2017 after staying at a home listed by Jason Colton, 42, in the seaside suburb of East Brighton, Melbourne. Jonuzi had booked the accommodation short-term but asked to extend his stay for a week.

Colton admitted in court to killing Jonuzi at the home after his guest failed to pay $AU210 ($149) that was owed for the extended stay. Colton and his housemates held Jonuzi down and proceeded to beat and strangle him, ultimately killing him. 

Colton was initially charged with murder but pleaded guilty to manslaughter. He claimed that he never meant to kill or seriously injure Jonuzi. Both his housemates, Ryan Smart and Craig Levy, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in September 2018 and are in jail. Smart received a nine-year sentence, while Levy was imprisoned for seven and a half years. 

According to the Australian Broadcasting Network, a police interview recorded on the night Jonuzi died was played in court to the jury, and revealed that Colton told investigators that Jonuzi “deserved everything he got.” 

Colton also inserted a pencil into Jonuzi’s rear in what the judge considered “an entirely gratuitous and contemptuous act,” the ABC said. 

According to the ABC, the judge called the attack “cowardly, vicious and unprovoked.”

“You were very much the instigator of the whole attack,” the judge told the court in sentencing.

Colton was sentenced to 11 years in prison with a non-parole period of eight years.

Airbnb previously condemned the suspects in a statement, calling the murder “an abhorrent act.”

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“We have removed this listing from our platform and will fully co-operate with law-enforcement on their investigation,” the statement read in part. 

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On the Australian version of its website, Airbnb said that it performs background checks on hosts and guests annually, and also has a law-enforcement liaison to help its clients manage potential criminal matters. It also stipulates to potential hosts a direct warning against criminal or threatening behavior.

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