Joy Lane posted many happy pictures together with boyfriend Steve Stephens, but a graphic viral video now shows a new side of the mental health counselor as he appeared to murder an elderly man picked out at random.
The graphic Facebook video went viral on Easter Sunday, showing Stephens driving in his car in the streets of Cleveland before announcing his plans to kill an elderly man who was walking nearby. The video then appeared to show Stephens get out of the car and confront 74-year-old Robert Godwin Sr., telling the man to say the name “Joy Lane” before pulling a gun and executing the man.
As Cleveland.com noted, the shooting appeared to take place near Joy Lane’s place of employment.
“The shooting happened near the Murvis Taylor’s facility on E. 105th Street in Cleveland, which includes a daycare center that was unoccupied on Sunday.”
“Murvis Taylor CEO Lovell Custard said concerns about security emerged after threats made by Stephens, including those made against an employee. He declined to give the name of the employee, but a resume posed at the University of Akron’s website states that Lane is a clinical supervisor for Murvis Taylor.”
In the wake of the shooting and the ongoing manhunt for Steve Stephens, Joy Lane herself has come into the spotlight. She has been identified as the girlfriend of Stephens, though it’s not clear what may have prompted his live-streamed execution.
Many have shared pictures of Joy Lane online, with shots posted to social media that showed them as a seemingly happy couple.
The website RollingOut had more pictures of Joy Lane and Steve Stephens together, including one that appeared to be posted sometime before Stephens launched his alleged attack.
In another Facebook message, Stephens hinted that the stress of his job as a mental health counselor may have contributed to the shooting.
“People would come to me with their problems, I would deal with my problems every day,” he wrote.
“But when it comes to my problems, nobody gives a f***k. It’s like I’m always the bad guy, no matter what the f**k I do, people always making it out on me… Innocent people about to die today.”
Stephens now faces a count of first-degree aggravated murder for the Cleveland shooting. In a phone correspondence with a friend, Stephens claimed that he had killed many other people as well.
“I shamed myself. I snapped, I snapped. I just snapped, I just killed 13 motherf*****s, man,” Stephens said during a phone call with a friend (via Cleveland.com).
“I’m about to keep killing until they catch me, f*** it. I’m telling them to catch me.”
Police have not verified if the claims of other killings are true, and said they have not found any other victims.
The search for Stephens has now stretched across the Cleveland area and into neighboring states. Police have asked anyone with information on his potential whereabouts to come forward, and are spreading the word about the car he is believed to be driving.
With Stephens still on the run, reports noted that police are offering protection to Joy Lane. She also spoke out briefly on Monday, saying that she was safe but afraid.
Joy Lane also offered some perspective on Stephens, saying he had been a loving partner and caring with Lane’s children.
“My heart & prayers goes out to the family members of the victim,” she wrote in a message to CBS News.
“Steve really is a nice guy… he is generous with everyone he knows. He was kind and loving to me an my children. This is a very difficult time for me and my family Please respect our privacy at this time.”
As her spotlight increases, many have come to the defense of Joy Lane, saying it was unfortunate that her name was brought into the unprovoked shooting and calling on others to give her privacy.
More pictures of Joy Lane and Steve Stephens can be seen here.
[Featured Image by Cleveland Police Department]