MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A tragic, high-profile, double-murder case has been settled out of court for millions of dollars.

It involves Teri Lee and her boyfriend, Tim Hawkinson, who were murdered in September of 2006 at Lee’s West Lakeland Township home near Stillwater, east of the Twin Cities.

Lee’s family sued security company ADT, saying a multi-layered security system didn’t work. On Friday, ADT and the family settled out of court just three days before a Federal Civil trial was scheduled to start.

Lee’s family sued ADT on behalf of our her four children, seeking more than $20 million for their mother’s murder. The settlement amount is undetermined and sealed by court order, but it’s believed to be a multi-million dollar amount. It does not require ADT to admit any fault.

Lee and Hawkinson were killed while they slept. Steven Van Keuren, Lee’s ex-boyfriend and 3M coworker, was convicted of the double murders in June of 2007. He broke into the home in the middle of night through the back door. He cut the phone line.

Lee was fearful of Van Keuren. He told her he was coming to kill her, so she took out a restraining order against him. She also installed a $2,600, top-of-the-line security system. It was supposed to give her and Hawkinson advance warning of an intruder, but it failed when they needed it most.

Lee even had a cell phone back-up system that should have initiated the alarm call, even with the phone lines cut, but that failed, too. The motion detectors also failed. So with no alarm and no advance warning that anyone was in the home, Van Keuren shot Lee while she slept in her bed.

“There is such a loss with Teri in the family,” said Vicki Swenson, Lee’s sister, back in June of 2007. “Our hearts are broken.”

Lee’s two daughters ran across the street for help, while her two sons hid in their rooms upstairs.

“They will never be able to say, ‘Goodnight, mom. I love you,’” said Swenson, who now has custody of the children.

Lee’s family really believes they were betrayed by ADT. The company promised to protect her with loud alarms and plenty of back-up systems, all of which were supposed to be part of that security system in the home.

Comments (16)
  1. Guy says:

    The best security system is a dog. Even a little one will bark & let you know if anyone is around.

  2. Another_Armed_Lib says:

    Dog + mossberg 500 w pistol grip + colt 45 = 1 dead home intruder

  3. BowWow says:

    So, Is ADT going to tell current customers about the details of this situation, or are they just going to go on like nothing happened?

    1. JamieinMN says:

      They have no obligation to admit fault, nor explain the situation. It’s private. If you don’t feel ADT is safe, then DON’T install it.

      1. Sarah says:

        How do think ADT performed Jamie? – you a hole. Looks to me like a big scam…. ..pretty much a sticker on the front door.
        Do you work for the company?

  4. feeling safenow says:

    Get ‘Alarm Force’. The fake voice is sure to scare anything away.

  5. Mike Bruno says:

    I am sure you meant well with this story, but I think it is a bit hurtfull and tacky for you to put the picture of the killer with one of the victims on the front page.

  6. Superchik1017 says:

    Such a tradegy. Our prayers go out to the families involved.

  7. Minne says:

    There are no 100% gaurantees with anything, including a security system.

  8. mnmom says:

    It is true that nothing is 100% – even a security system, but when not one element of the system did what it was designed to do and 2 people were murdered in front of 4 young children, something must be done. I know this phenomenal family and how hard they have worked the last 5 years to provide a “normal” life for these 4 children. They have lived through more than most of us will ever even come close to living. I hope they stuck it to ADT – and am disappointed that ADT does not have to publicly admit any wrong doing.

    1. mnmom says:

      Oh….and I, too, think the picture is incredibly insensitive!

  9. Lord Elrond says:

    I just want something to alert me early enough to get my glock 27 and blow the SOB away

  10. See BS says:

    I’m not sure why they are showing a photo of the victim with the man who killed her?

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