Family of Facebook-killing victim: We forgive suspect
Robert Godwin, Sr. (l) moments before being fatally shot
Steve Stephens, who took his own life, was found dead in Erie, Penn.
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The man who randomly killed a Cleveland retiree and posted video of the crime on Facebook shot himself to death on Tuesday in Pennsylvania, police said.
Pennsylvania State Police said Steve Stephens was spotted Tuesday morning in Erie County, in the state’s northwest corner. Authorities say officers tried to pull Stephens over and, after a brief pursuit, he shot and killed himself.
He was wanted on an aggravated murder charge in the shooting death of a 74-year-old man who was picking up aluminum cans on Sunday after spending Easter with his family.
Stephens’ mom, Maggie Green, told Fox News on Tuesday she heard the news of her son’s death on the radio. She said she believed he would commit suicide because he visited her house before the murder to say goodbye.
“‘Momma this will be the last time you see me…I just wanted to see you for the last time,’” Green said that Stephens told her.
Green said Stephens had an issue with gambling.
“Steve was a good Christian person…he just snapped…he had a gambling problem,” she said.
The family of an Ohio man whose killing was posted on Facebook say they forgive the alleged killer, who is being hunted nationwide.
“Each one of us forgives the killer, the murderer,” Tonya Godwin-Baines, a daughter of 74-year-old victim Robert Godwin, told Cleveland TV station WJW on Monday. “We want to wrap our arms around him.”
The suspect, Steve Stephens, 37, is accused of killing Godwin, a father of 10 and grandfather of 14, on Sunday. Cleveland police said Stephens posted video of the apparently random killing on Facebook. It was later removed.
A son, Robert Godwin Jr., said: “Steve, I forgive you … I’m not happy [with] what you did but I forgive you.”
Meanwhile, the family pleaded with Stephens to turn himself in. “To the young man who murdered my daddy,” Godwin-Baines told the TV station, “I ask that you please surrender. I forgive you and love you, but most importantly, God loves you. God can heal your mind and save your soul.”
The family’s words came as authorities intensified their hunt for Stephens, expanding the search nationwide and placing him on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted list.
In addition, Cleveland’s Mayor Frank Jackson announced a reward of up to $50,000 for information leading to the arrest of Stephens in the Easter Sunday shooting. The alleged shooter also claimed to have killed at least a dozen other people, although police said they have no evidence of it.
The claim came when detectives contacted Stephens on his cellphone shortly after the shooting but were unable to convince him to turn himself in. Cleveland’s police chief, Calvin Williams, said officers and the FBI have searched dozens of possible locations for Stephens to no avail. No other victims have been found, Williams added, but he warned that Stephens should be considered armed and dangerous.