An Airbnb guest begged for his life as he was choked to death by his host, a court has heard. Jason Colton, 42, pleaded guilty to manslaughter – but not guilty to murder – in the Victorian Supreme Court, in Melbourne, on Monday. But prosecutors told board he knew his actions were possible to kill or gravely injure his victim, Mail Online reports. Colton would face a conceivable life sentence if a jury convicts him of murder. He would face up to 20 years in prison if the jury receives the death was manslaughter. Mr. Jonuzi. He had been renting a room in a Melbourne home from Colton, who was also a tenant.
Australian daily The Age reported at the time that Mr. Jonuzi was a bricklayer, who had leased the room in Brighton East because he wanted a cheap and steady place to stay while he distributed with some “personal issues”. Mr. Jonuzi first rented a room for three nights on Airbnb but decided with head tenant Craig Levy that he’d stay another week for $210, sharing the rented house with Levy, Colton and Ryan Smart. But when the week was up and the payment wasn’t paid, Colton threw Mr. Jonuzi against a wall, choked him with his forearm and punched him unconscious, prosecutor Mark Gibson told the jury.
Australian broadcaster ABC reports that Levy and Smart held their visitor down, while Colton beat him until he lost consciousness. The housemates then apparently dragged him out into the garden and sustained the attack there. Footage of the crime scene was played to the court, and showed Mr. Jonuzi half-naked and lying in front of the house with an evidently broken nose and bloodied face. Colton rejects knowing that his actions would be enough to kill or cause serious injury to his victim, saying that he only wanted to knock him unconscious. Mr. Jonuzi wept as he begged the group “leave me alone” but Colton demanded, “get me the money”. He forced Mr. Jonuzi to prove to them that he had less than $10 (£5) in his account. In a statement released at the time, Airbnb said it was “deeply saddened and outraged” by what had happened, and that it had removed the listing from its site. The trial continues.