by Christie Stelly
Steve Stephens, the perpetrator of a disturbing murder committed in Cleveland, Ohio, killed himself after being pulled over by police last Tuesday afternoon.
On April 16, Stephens shot and killed 74-year-old Robert Godwin Sr. The murder can be seen in a graphic video uploaded and shared on Facebook.
In the video, Stephens’ states, “Found me somebody I’m going to kill, this guy right here, this old dude.” Stephens then exited his car and began talking to Godwin before shooting him in the head.
The video, shared by millions of Facebook users, sparked a nationwide manhunt. There were billboards and photographs posted all over the country with a photograph of Stephens.
There is evidence on Stephens’ Facebook that may provide the motivation behind his anger. In a Facebook post, he blamed the murder on a woman, Joy Lane, who is believed to be his ex-girlfriend. His post read: “three years I spent with this b****… I wish we never met.”
In the disturbing video, he asks Godwin to say his ex-girlfriend’s name before pulling the trigger. “She’s the reason this is about to happen to you,” Stephens said in the chilling video.
Two days later, Pennsylvania police received a tip from a fast-food worker at a McDonalds restaurant, who recognized Stephens in the drive-thru lane. Stephens was told that he had to wait for his french fries, a tactic used by the employees to stall Stephens from leaving the parking lot while they called police.
Stephens was impatient and left the scene in a hurry. Soon after, police spotted him in a White Ford Fusion with temporary license plates and eventually cornered him on Buffalo Road. Once police walked over to the vehicle, Stephens shot himself.
“We’re grateful that this has ended,” Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams said. “We would prefer that it had not ended this way because there are a lot of questions, I’m sure, that not only the family, but the city in general would have had for Steve.”
The graphic video remained on Facebook for approximately two hours before staff took it down. Facebook has been criticized for not removing the video quick enough.
“We have a lot of work and we will keep doing all we can to prevent tragedies like these from happening,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said.
In a Facebook post by Stephens, he claimed that he has killed 15 people in total. Police have yet to confirm any of the 14 other supposed murders.
According to the Associated Press, Godwin was killed while he was walking on Cleveland Street, collecting aluminum cans, which was something he did often. “Not because he needed the money, it was just something he did,” said Debbie Godwin, the victim’s daughter. “That’s all he was doing. He wasn’t harming anyone.”
Stephens was working at a behavioral health agency as a counselor for teenagers and young adults. According to sources at NBC News, Stephens’ friends described him as a “good guy.”
It is unclear why Stephens murdered an innocent man in cold blood, and the public and Godwin’s family may never get the answers that they want and need. Stephens is the only one that could have given an explanation for his cruel killing and since he is gone, the public will never know.