ORLANDO, Fla. May 4 2017- The parents of a 27-year-old Orlando woman, who police said was killed in her condo in 2015 by the complex security guard, is suing Uptown Place Condominiums, the company that made the lock on the victim’s door and the security company that hired the suspect, according to court records obtained by News 6.
The lawsuit was filed Monday in Ninth Judicial Circuit Court by lawyers for Sasha Samsudean’s parents, Tara and Ken Samsudean.
The Samsudeans allege that Stephen Duxbury, who is accused of raping and killing their daughter, was able to access her apartment by hacking the Kwikset digital deadbolt after “running internet searches on his smartphone” minutes before Sasha was killed, according to court records.
The security risks of the locks were reported by Wired magazine in 2013.
Kwikset redesigned the SmartKey deadbolt in January 2016 after denying that there were any vulnerabilities in the locks.
The company sent a statement to News 6 Wednesday:
“Our thoughts and condolences are with the Samsudean family. We stand behind the security of our locks, put our customers’ safety first, and are dedicated to a complete investigation of this matter,” said David A. Prichard, Vice President, Corporate Communications, for Spectrum Brands Holdings.
The Uptown Place Condominium Association, Condominium Concepts Management Inc., All American Investigators and Security LLC, Vital Security Investigations and Spectrum Brands Inc. are also named as defendants in the complaint, along with lock maker Kwikset Corp.
Uptown Place on North Orange Avenue and Condominium Concepts were required to provide a safe and secure building for the victim and all other residents, according to the lawsuit.
“Neither Uptown Place nor Condominium Concepts installed surveillance video cameras to monitor the common-area hallways,” reads the lawsuit. “This failure created the opportunity for Duxbury to break into Sasha Samsudean’s apartment while she was asleep without detection or interference.”
News 6 asked Uptown Place apartments for a comment and were directed to corporate. The company has not responded.
The couple is suing Vital Security, the company that hired Duxbury as a security guard, because the suspect had a criminal history and mental health issues, lawyer Richard Newsome wrote in the complaint.
Vital Security attorney Frank Ioppolo told News 6 that the company has yet to receive the lawsuit.
He said the company extends their condolences and sympathy to the family.
In regards to accusations in the lawsuit of the security company and apartment complex not conducting more of a stringent background check on Duxbury, Ioppolo said the company did a state level FBI check.
Ioppolo said Duxbury passed the background check.
Duxbury was hired in 2015 and started working at Uptown Place in May 2015.
“Not long after Duxbury started patrolling the Uptown Place Apartments, residents began to complain about Duxbury and his behavior,” according to the lawsuit.
The complaints were submitted to Vital Security as well as Uptown Place and Condominium Concepts, Newsome wrote.
The lawsuit describes several of the incidents reported to the companies, including a young female resident who said in May 2015 that Duxbury was "acting sketchy" after he followed her back to her apartment.
"Despite this knowledge, (the companies) failed to take any action to investigate the complaints about Duxbury" or reassign him, according to the lawsuit.
According to Vital Security, Duxbury was a former member of the armed services with an honorable discharge and was fully licensed in Florida to be a security guard.
Officials said Duxbury passed all background checks and had no criminal background.
After Duxbury’s arrest in November 2015, Orlando police called the murder “a crime of opportunity by a man working in what should have been the protective service of the residents of Uptown Place Apartments.”
"This crime could have happened in any apartment complex in any city in the United States," Orlando police Chief John Mina said.
Duxbury, 33, is awaiting trial on first-degree murder, sexual battery and burglary charges for the Oct. 17 homicide.