As the manhunt for Steve Stephens enters its second full day after the 37-year-old Cleveland, Ohio man posted the fatal shooting of an elderly man to Facebook, Stephens has been added to the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list and the family of Robert Godwin Sr., gunned down at random allegedly by Stephens, have stated they forgive the shooter.
Update April 18, 2017, 1 p.m. EST: Manhunt Ends for Steve Stephens Who Took His Own Life
Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams continues to urge Stephens to turn himself into law enforcement for a peaceful resolution to the aggravated murder charge the suspect faces. Williams reminded people who may be providing aid to Stephens that they are not truly helping him and may, in fact, face criminal charges of their own for aiding and abetting a fugitive.
The manhunt for Stephens has been extended nationwide, with local, state and federal authorities acknowledging they have no idea as to the suspect’s current whereabouts despite the almost 400 tips they have received so far. Law enforcement has verified that despite Stephen’s allegations about having killed multiple people, there has been only one alleged victim, 74-year-old Robert Godwin Sr.
What Led a Law-Abiding Social Worker to Snap?
In his cell phone conversations with Cleveland police on Sunday, April 16, 2017, Steve W. Stephens said his actions were the result of him having “just snapped.” In the video Stephens posted to Facebook, he pulled his car over on the side of the street, approaching Robert Godwin Sr., asking him to repeat the name, “Joy Lane.” When Godwin did so, Stephens said, “Yeah. She’s the reason why this is about to happen to you.”
Joy Lane, who bore the brunt of Stephens’ blame on Sunday, as been verified as being safe by Chief Williams and is cooperating with authorities. In a text message with CBS News, Lane explained:
“We had been in a relationship for several years,” she wrote, according to the network. “I am sorry that all of this has happened. My heart & prayers goes out to the family members of the victim(s). Steve really is a nice guy … he is generous with everyone he knows. He was kind and loving to me and my children.”
In a Facebook posting prior to the April 16th shooting, Stephens wrote that he had gambled his money away at a Cleveland casino and that he was “out of options.” Court records indicate Stephens had recently been evicted from an apartment in Euclid after having been evicted from an apartment in Warrensville Heights just five months earlier that resulted in a garnishment of his wages, beginning in March 2017.
Chief Williams has said he doesn’t believe it was any single issue that led to Steve Stephens’ actions, but that the man was facing “deep, deep issues.”
CrimeStoppers Offers $50,000 for Information Leading to the Arrest of Steve W. Stephens
Law enforcement authorities have not had contact with Stephens since Sunday, the day of Godwin’s shooting, and have acknowledged both that Stephens had at least two cell phones that day, one that broadcast the shooting video to Facebook and one that he used to speak with law enforcement.
Authorities are urging anyone who sees the 6′ 1”, 244-pound black man who is bald with a full beard and mustache Stephens who was last known to be driving a 2017 white Ford Fusion with Ohio temporary tag E363630 to not approach the man, who is considered to be armed and dangerous, but to call 911. Reports of Stephens’ whereabouts can also be called to the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI.
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