Police Say Facebook Murder Suspect 'Shot And Killed Himself'

Candice Alexander
April 21, 2017

Debbie Godwin tells The Associated Press she would have preferred that 37-year-old Steve Stephens remain alive and face prison time for the Sunday shooting of 74-year-old Robert Godwin Sr.

Steve W Stephens, the subject of a rapidly expanding nationwide manhunt following the horrific slaying Monday in OH, was spotted by Pennsylvania State Police troopers in Erie County on Tuesday morning (Wednesday NZ time), the agency announced.

Stephens, who had no prior criminal record, was not suspected in any other killings, Cleveland officials said.

He was reportedly collecting aluminum cans, though his family told CNN he was walking home from a holiday meal when Stephens - 6-foot-1 and 244 pounds, according to police - approached with a cell phone camera. A $50,000 reward is being offered for information leading to his capture and prosecution.

Facebook, which makes money primarily by selling advertising that appears on people's news feeds, relies largely on its 1.9 billion users to report posts that violate its terms of service, and it employs thousands of workers to examine those reports.

Tarkowski said a coroner was en route to the scene of the shooting in Erie County, which is less than 160 kilometres from Cleveland. Facebook said it removed the video 23 minutes after learning of it. Godwin did not seem to recognize the name.

The woman, Joy Lane, told WJW-TV in Cleveland that she last talked with Stephens on Saturday night, when he told her he had quit his job and was moving out of state.

Stephens is believed to have videotaped his actions and published it on Facebook, along with another video threatening to kill others and claiming he had already killed 13 people. He had worked for many years at a children's behavioral center in OH, where he had no red flags in his personnel file, according to the Erie Times-News.

His Facebook page, with the gruesome video, wasn't removed for almost three hours.

"The thing I would take away most from our father is that he taught us about God: how to fear God, how to love God and how to forgive", Tonya Godwin-Baines said on CNN. "We would have preferred it not ended this way". Detectives spoke with the suspect on Sunday by cellphone and tried to persuade him to surrender, police said.

"No injuries to law enforcement or members of the public were reported". There had been rumoured and reported sightings in Philadelphia, Detroit, Washington, DC, and elsewhere.

Other reports by VgToday

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