Social media has been a consistent outlet for showcasing the good and the bad of society. Certain restrictions are placed on websites that allow videos, photos, and personal information to be posted. However, the Internet cannot restrict everything.
Steve W. Stephens, the Facebook Murderer, live streamed the murder of an innocent elderly gentleman in Philadelphia on Easter Sunday. Robert Godwin Sr., 74, suffered a single shot to his head. According to the video, Mr. Godwin had been selected at random. In the background, Mr. Stephens states that he could “thank” his ex-girlfriend -who had just recently separated from the criminal- that “she’s the reason this is about to happen to you.”
The murder became a media butterfly effect. Concerned members took to Twitter, discussing several articles that pointed out Mr. Stephen’s affiliation with the activist Black Lives Matter group, lashing out at the subtle insult towards the group and it’s irrelevancy to the case. Strict searches were conducted by the F.B.I, Cleveland Police Department, and United States Marshalls. False sightings of Stephens in Texas, Maryland, Indiana, and eastern Pennsylvania set off intense searches, but to no avail. A $50,000 reward for Mr. Stephen’s arrest set the local and state tip lines on fire, however they were proven to be false.
Mr. Stephens ended his life in Erie, PA., in his white Ford Fusion Sedan. He was seen at nearby a Mcdonald’s, where he had purchased a 20-piece order of Chicken McNuggets and large French Fries, according to restaurant manager Henry Sayers. Mr. Stephens’ was identified by the staff, and drove off before he could be stalled.
The Pennsylvania State Troopers and Wesleyville officers chased the suspect about a mile away from the Mcdonald’s, ending the chase with a Pit Maneuver which is designed to make a suspect lose control of his vehicle. As he pulled to a stop, Mr. Stephens pulled out a pistol and ended his life. His death was met with “sadness and relief”, according to Nancy Kortemeyer, a spokeswoman for Beach Brook. Debbie Godwin, one out of six of Mr. Godwin’s daughters, stated in unhappiness that their family “would’ve preferred that he turned himself in and paid the penalty for taking [her] father’s life.” Mr. Stephens held no previous criminal record, and worked at Beech Brook since 2008. In his video, he had described his debt due to gambling and that he had nothing left to lose. His act seemed to be based off “impulse” according to Clinton Van Zandt, a former F.B.I profiler, as Mr. Stephens had lacked any proper planning or escape in his plan.
Mr. Stephens family has remained private in their mourning and his ex-girlfriend has also remained close doors. It is unknown whether the restaurant chain will receive the reward money for calling in the suspect. “We would have like to brought Steve in peacefully,” Chief Calvin D. Williams of the Cleveland police stated. “…because there might be other people out there in similar situations that we can help.”
By: Azia Lualhati