Steve Stephens, the Cleveland man who posted a video to Facebook of him murdering an elderly father on his way home from Easter dinner on Sunday, ended his own life after a brief pursuit with Pennsylvania State Police on Tuesday.
Pennsylvania State Police officers received a tip that his white Ford Fusion was seen parked outside a McDonald’s in Eerie County. Over four hundred similar tips were funneled into the investigation from all over the country, with law enforcement in each area responding and providing information back to the joint operation that included the FBI, Federal Marshal Service, ATF, and others tasked with bringing him to justice.
Stevens was already in his vehicle by the time law enforcement arrived at the McDonald’s, and after a brief chase, Stephens stopped the car and used his gun to shoot himself in the head.
“As the officers approached that vehicle Steve Stephens took his own life,” Calvin Williams, the Cleveland police chief said to reporters in a brief press conference. “We would have preferred that it had not ended this way,” he added, going on to say he and the community would have had “a lot of questions” for Stephens to answer.
Stephens has been on the lamb since Sunday, when at around 2:00PM he filmed himself first in his car, and then approaching 74-year-old Robert Godwin.
“Here’s somebody I’m about to kill. I’m about to kill this guy right here. An old dude.” He said to the camera. Before he shot the man, he made him say the name of a woman (removed) that was reportedly Stephen’s girlfriend.
Stephens then said, “She’s the reason why this is about to happen to you,” before pulling the trigger and ending the Godwin’s life. He later told his mother on the phone that he “was killing people” because he was “mad at his girlfriend.”
“All I can say is that I wish he had gone down in a hail of one hundred bullets,” Brenda Haymon, the daughter of the victim, told CNN. “I wish it had gone down like that instead of him shooting himself.”
“They don’t make men like him anymore. He was definitely one in a million,” said another daughter, Debbie Godwin, about her late father.
Stevens worked with children at a behavioral health facility called Beech Brook in the Cleveland area since 2008. Although he had received administrative corrections in the past, they claimed he had never been punished for any behavior that would indicate that he was capable of murder.
“While an employee, he received corrective action notes related to incomplete paperwork and missed appointments, but no disciplinary actions related to harassment, threats of violence or other misconduct,” a statement released by Beech Brook read.
Stevens had no prior criminal record, and although he claimed to have already killed “a dozen” other people, law enforcement has no reason to suspect that his claims were true. Law enforcement officials do not believe he knew his victim, Robert Godwin, who was a retired foundry worker who just happened to cross paths with Stevens as he walked home from an Easter dinner he’d spent with son and daughter-in-law.
“I forgive him because we are all sinners,” Robby Miller, Godwin’s son, said in an interview with CNN.
Image courtesy of CNN