News / Toronto

Ontario couple suing realtor for selling them house of murder

View 2 photos


Eric and Sade-Lea Tekoniemi thought they had bought their dream house in Bowmanville last fall. But it turned into a house of nightmares when, soon afterward, they learned the home in the community east of Oshawa was the scene of a double murder 15 years before.

“I suffered panic attacks and am still on anxiety medication,” Sade-Lea Tekoniemi said on Monday. Eric Tekoniemi noted he also feels stress at work and is uneasy at home. And the uncertainty about his wife’s health bothers him.

Although the couple wanted to cancel the $253,000 sale immediately, their lawyer said it was too late because they were legally bound under the transaction’s terms.Now the Tekoniemis have sued the real-estate firm, an agent and former owners of the home for allegedly selling the split-level to them without revealing the stabbing murders.

Ron England, a paranoid schizophrenic, murdered his mother, Marian Johnston, 74, and stepdaughter, Jenny, 6, in the home on April 2, 1996. He stabbed his mother 34 times and his daughter 89 times. The girl lay on the floor with a knife embedded in her heart.

The Tekoniemis are seeking $450,000 in damages plus costs from Re/Max First Realty, agent Mary Roy and Arthur Hewer and Sharron Lindsay, the former home owners. None of these parties would talk about the case, which must be proven in court.

But the Real Estate Council of Ontario, which regulates the industry, issued a warning to Roy last month because she “deliberately withheld a material fact known to her” regarding the murders from the buyers, contrary to the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act. The decision followed a complaint by the Tekoniemis this year.

The couple say they want to sell the home but recover any depreciation in value from the defendants because they want proper disclosure to any future owners.

More on