Farmington, Minn. investigates first murder since 1975

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Timothy Steele

Police in Farmington, Minn. are investigating the city’s first murder since 1975. A family member confirmed 35-year-old Tim Steele struck his 84-year-old grandmother in the head with a hammer, killing her. The incident was reported just after 11:30 p.m. Thursday at the family's home on Linden Street.

Steele, 35, was booked into the Dakota County Jail for murder early Friday morning. The county attorney's office expects to file charges by noon on Monday, Oct. 19.

Diane Steele said the murder must have happened while she was getting the house closed up for the night. Agnes Steele, who suffers from dementia, early signs of kidney failure and diabetes, had gone up to bed shortly after all 3 had dinner and watched some TV between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. At about 10 p.m., Diane says Tim, who has suffered from mental health and chemical dependency issues for some time, returned from the store with some cigarettes and came into his mother’s bedroom

“He said, ‘I need to talk to you mom.’ Okay fine, I turned on the light. What happened? He said, ‘I killed granny.’ I said what? No It’s got to be a joke. He’s trying to stop me. And he said ‘You don’t need to look. You don’t need to look.’ I said yes I do, because I need to find out if there is a pulse, if she’s breathing. There was neither.”

Diane hesitated to call 911.

“Because if I would have started reacting hysterically, I’m sure he would have grabbed the phone from me, and who knows what he would have did to me,” Diane said. “I just got him calm. I even went as far as to take him for a drive around town a little bit -- convinced him it was only going to be a short time, he was going to be gone."

Neighbors and police say they’ve been called to the Steele home a number of times over the years, calling the boys “devils” who found trouble no matter where they went.

When Diane and Tim returned to the home on Linden Street, she called police and Tim sat on the couch, waiting for officers to arrive. 

Tim Steele has served 3 prison sentences for sentences (he entered prison on 11-9-2001 for all three). The sentences were terroristic threats and burglary charges. He entered prison on Nov. 9, 2011 for those sentences, which expired on July 1, 2013.