BOLO: Five-state manhunt for Facebook thrill killer

posted at 10:01 am on April 17, 2017 by Ed Morrissey

A manhunt for a suspect in a murder uploaded to Facebook has now expanded to five states. Steve Stephens shot an elderly man for no apparent reason while recording the event, and also bragged that he had committed more than a dozen other murders over the years. Cleveland police say they have no evidence for those other crimes, but want to stop Stephens before he runs up the score even further:

Cleveland, Ohio, police are searching for a suspect who they say killed an elderly man and uploaded the video to Facebook.

The incident happened at about 2 p.m. Sunday, police said. The suspect, identified by police as Steve Stephens, is described as 6-foot-1, 244 pounds and bald with a full beard. He is wearing a dark blue and gray- or black-striped polo shirt and believed to be driving a white Ford Fusion, according to police. …

In the video, which has since been removed from Facebook, the elderly victim, later identified by police as Robert Godwin Sr., 74, can be seen raising his hands in an apparent attempt to ward off his attacker before he is shot once in the head. Police initially said the victim’s last name was spelled Goodwin.

Stephens claims to have committed multiple homicides, according to police. No additional victims have been found, though officers are searching multiple locations, police said.

Who is Steve Stephens? Until Easter Sunday, he seemed to be a well-liked member of the community. His social-media profile changed dramatically:

A better question: Who was the victim? Robert Godwin Sr was a 78-year-old grandfather out for a walk on a beautiful Easter day. His community and his family loved him, and for good reason — he was the kind of person we all aspire to be:

The son told the Cleveland Plain Dealer his father was a retired foundry worker who had nine children and 14 grandchildren. He enjoyed fishing and often was seen walking around with a plastic bag in his hand as he collected aluminum cans he saw on the ground.

That’s what he was doing Sunday in Cleveland’s Glenville neighborhood, a shopping bag in his hand. He had just finished an Easter meal. …

“It’s not real. (My father) was a good guy. He would give you the shirt off his back,” Robert Godwin Jr. told WOIO. “Feels like my heart is gonna stop.”

There were at least nine GoFundMe pages set up online soliciting funds to help Godwin’s family, but Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams said the family is asking people not to contribute to any of those pages because they weren’t set up by the family. Williams said the family is in the process of setting up an official GoFundMe page that will be released later Monday through the police department.

We’ll spend days, weeks, months, and years dissecting what makes Stephens tick; perhaps we should spend at least a little time discussing what made Godwin such an asset to his family and community.

They’re tracking Stephens’ cell phone, which demonstrates Stephens’ lack of aptitude for going on the run. Investigators found a ping off a tower in Erie, PA, and the FBI has responded by expanding the manhunt in all directions as a result. Cleveland police have offered the following description — and warning:

Suspect in this case is a bm Steve Stephens 6’1 244 bald with a full beard. Wearing dark blue and grey or black striped polo shirt. Driving a white Ford Fusion with a temp tag. Armed and dangerous. If seen call 9-1-1. Do not approach.

Good advice. Hopefully, people will see Stephens and get police involved before he can rob the world of another life like Robert Godwin’s. In the meantime, our prayers go out to his family and community.


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