A manhunt is underway for a suspect who is now dubbed the “Cleveland Facebook Killer.” On Sunday, Steven Stephens posted a clip of himself on Facebook killing an elderly man in cold blood. The man was not known to Stephens; he was a 74-year-old grandfather who just happened to be walking down the street at the time Stephens decided to shoot someone.
Investigators got a ping off Steven Stephens’ cell phone in Pennsylvania, but he could be anywhere today. The police are stressing just how dangerous this man is, and they now have neighboring states on alert looking for Stephens.
Stephens didn’t know his victim, but he took out a gun and shot Robert Godwin Sr. after spotting the older gentleman randomly walking along a street in Cleveland collecting discarded cans and bottles. He filmed the entire encounter with the victim, starting with his approach to the unsuspecting elderly man, who was kind enough to stop and talk to him.
The video continued until you see the man’s dead body laying on a blood-soaked sidewalk. Stephens then posted the clip on his Facebook page. This gut-wrenching video is evidence on just how dangerous Stephens is. This was a random kill; he did not know this man. Stephens shot this man without showing any emotion. He displayed the same emotions that you would have while embarking on a daily mundane chore, like washing the dishes.
Police said that he did go live on Facebook after killing the elderly man to brag, and investigators did have a brief contact with Stephens via his cell phone. The police investigators attempted to talk him into turning himself in, but it was to no avail. That was the one and only communication they have had with Stephens.
The very graphic and gruesome clip was enough to bring tears to your eyes. While you have seen more violence in movies than in Stephen’s Facebook clip, the realization that this was not a movie scene was enough to put a pit in your stomach. Fox News reports that the search for Stephens has “intensified,” and he could be in “a lot of places” right now, according to the police chief.
Once police confirmed Stephens did kill this man just the way the clip plays out, people realized this wasn’t a prank. It left many in a disturbed state from viewing the Facebook post. After the police eyed the post, it was taken down, but by then it was too late. The Facebook killing clip had been downloaded over and over again across the internet.
Stephens, 37, worked as a case manager for a behavioral-health agency in Pepper Pike, which is a town outside Cleveland. He apparently had a breakup with a woman named Joy Lane. According to what Stephens himself said on Facebook, this put him over the edge. He is heard asking the elderly man to repeat Joy Lane’s name before shooting the victim.
The victim has been identified as Robert Godwin Sr., who was 74. He was a father and a grandfather who was out with a shopping bag collecting discarded cans and bottles. Although Stephens’ Facebook page containing the gruesome video has been taken down, the clip of Stephens killing Godwin has gone viral online, as people downloaded the clip before Facebook deleted the account. The victim, Robert Godwin Sr. is seen in the Facebook post below.
In the clip, you can see the exact moment when Godwin realized this man was about to shoot him. He held up his shopping bag as if to guard his face just seconds before the gun goes off, dropping Godwin to the ground. Before Stephens took that, shot he asked the victim to say the name of “Joy Lane,” which is the woman he blames for all this happening.
Godwin is seen in the clip saying that he doesn’t know the person Stephens is talking about, and at the same time, you can see his fear level rise when he sees the gun. Despite Stephens bragging on Facebook that he has killed 15 people that day, authorities have found no other victims.
According to NBC News, the authorities in the states surrounding Ohio have been told to be on the alert for Stephens. He is wanted on a charge of aggravated murder. Authorities have warned people in Pennsylvania, New York, Indiana, and Michigan to be on the lookout for him, and the FBI is assisting in the investigation.
[Featured Image by Paul Sakuma/AP Images]