I think that there is an important piece of the story that's being missed here. According to this press release (which comes from the plaintiff's lawyers, so should be looked upon with a grain of salt) and this news story, the woman was still having problems with her equipment and had called back "he managed to learn that Ms. Thomas had reported that she was still having problems with her service and used his company key card to enter a Charter Spectrum secured vehicle lot and drove his Charter Spectrum van to her house. Once inside, while fixing her fax machine, the victim, Ms. Thomas, caught the field tech stealing her credit cards from her purse. The Charter Spectrum field tech, Roy Holden, then brutally stabbed the 83-year-old customer with a utility knife supplied by Charter Spectrum and went on a spending spree with her credit cards." So for all intents and purposes, regardless of whether he was "off duty" he was at the victims home as a representative of Charter.If you are going to hold the company responsible for the employee's action the day after how about the week after? A month after? That is where the claim gets stupid again. If they had terminated the employee due to the "concerns" that the victim's lawyer claims were obvious would that have cleared the cable company of responsibility or would that have served as a trigger for the employee to attack one of the 1000 other customers he served?
It also appears that the size of the award could have been due to Charter's actions following the murder.
"Jurors agreed that after Ms. Thomas' grieving family filed a lawsuit, Charter Spectrum attorneys used a forged document to try to force the lawsuit into a closed-door arbitration where the results would have been secret and damages for the murder would have been limited to the amount of Ms. Thomas's final bill. The jury found that Charter Spectrum committed forgery beyond a reasonable doubt, conduct that constitutes a first-degree felony under Texas law."