A manhunt spanning at least five states is underway for Steve Stephens, 37, after he posted a video on Facebook on Easter Sunday of him executing an elderly man who was reportedly walking home from Easter dinner with his family.
Stephens, who reportedly had no relationship with his victim, uploaded a video to Facebook at around 2PM on Sunday, in which he holds a pistol up to the head of 74-year-old Robert Godwin. The weapon is then discharged and Godwin’s body falls to the ground.
“Here’s somebody I’m about to kill. I’m about to kill this guy right here. An old dude.” Stephens said at the outset of the horrific video.
Facebook received a number of complaints about the video, prompting them to remove it, but other people have since begun sharing the video on social media.
“This is a horrific crime and we do not allow this kind of content on Facebook,” said a spokesperson for the company. “We work hard to keep a safe environment on Facebook, and are in touch with law enforcement in emergencies when there are direct threats to physical safety.”
According to Stephen’s Facebook page, he claims to have committed a number of other homicides as well, though law enforcement has yet to link him to any other murders.
Stephen’s mother, Maggie Green, says she spoke to Stephens the day before the brutal killing of Godwin and that he told her not to expect to see him again.
“He said this (was) the last time I was going to see him,” Green said of Stephens’ visit to her house on Saturday. “If you see me again, it’ll be a miracle,” she quoted him as saying. When she saw that her son had been implicated in a murder on the news, she said she was dumbfounded and called him on his cell phone.
According to Green’s statements, her conversation with her son after the murder was brief because his phone died, but he explained that he was killing people because he was “mad with his girlfriend.” Law enforcement has since located the woman he was referring to and placed her in protective custody.
Stephens’ cell phone was last tracked in Erie, Pennsylvania, approximately one hundred miles East of the location of the shooting. Officially, his last confirmed location was the murder scene, and tracking his cell phone may not offer definitive proof of Stephens’ location or heading, but the manhunt has now expanded into the Northeast in case he continues in that trajectory.
According to law enforcement, they have already searched “dozens of locations to no avail,” though one detective was reportedly able to reach him on his cell phone. No details about their conversation have been revealed thus far.
“We’re still asking Steve to turn himself in, but if he doesn’t, we’ll find him,” Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams told reporters. “We’re not going to stop until we find him.”
He also warned Stephens’ friends and family members not to assist him while he’s on the run: “If you think you’re helping Steve, you’re really not. You’re going to get yourself in trouble.”
Steve Stephens is a black male that stands approximately 6-foot-1 and weighs 244 pounds. He was last seen wearing a polo shirt with blue and either grey or black stripes and was driving a white Ford Fusion with temporary license plates.
“He is considered armed and dangerous, so we want people to be careful out there.”
Images courtesy of Facebook, CNN, Associated Press