On Easter Sunday, Robert Godwin Sr. celebrated the resurrection of Jesus with his children and was then summarily executed, on East 93rd Street in Cleveland, under an ominous dark sky. The assassin, Steve Stephens, a 37-year-old business school graduate, used his cell phone to video his declaration of intent to kill at random, and blame his cold-blooded acts on his girlfriend. The chilling play by play accounting of his victim search, followed by a single gunshot wound to the head of an innocent man, was then uploaded to Facebook.
In the video, which was removed by Facebook three hours later, he claimed to have massacred a total of thirteen people and had no intentions of stopping his murderous rampage. A five-state manhunt is currently underway in Pennsylvania, Indiana, New York, Michigan, and Ohio. The nature of these seemingly random acts is terrifying and law enforcement agencies, are scrambling to locate and apprehend Stephens–before he carries out any more of his unhinged atrocities.
Stephens is an employee at Beech Brook, a behavioral health facility, and the news of Godwin’s murder has co-workers scratching their heads in disbelief and taking the necessary steps to protect their employees. Offices were closed today, and Nancy Kortemeyer, a spokeswoman at Beech Brook, issued the following statement:
We were shocked and horrified to learn of this news today. We were notified that it was on Facebook, and we are waiting along with everyone else to hear if he has been apprehended. Our hearts go out to the family of Mr. Godwin, and we are hoping that the Cleveland Police will be able to apprehend Mr. Stephens as soon as possible and before anyone else is injured.
The Cleveland police have taken Stephen’s girlfriend, Joy Lane, into protective custody. Although cooperating with police, she has described him as a kind, generous and gentle man:
Steve really is a nice guy… he is generous with everyone he knows. He was kind and loving to me and my children. This is a very difficult time for me and my family Please respect our privacy at this time.
We have heard similar claims by friends, and family members after inconceivable and horrific crimes are made known. But someone, please explain how Joy Lane’s Steve, rapidly morphed into the monster that has yet to be found? Perhaps the most fitting testament for this horrendous crime on Easter Sunday comes from one of Godwin’s ten children. In a heart-wrenching plea, on a local Cleveland Fox News affiliate, the victim’s daughter begged Stephens to turn himself into police.
To the young man who murdered my daddy, 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. PLEASE!
Robert Godwin most certainly raised his children right.
Good and evil people traffic social media outlets. There is no algorithm weeding out the crazies–but one wonders if there should be a way to keep folks like Stephens from posting his madness for all to see?
Facebook, wasted no time in jumping out in front of yet another instance of violence uploaded to their site and shared for the world to digest. Stephen’s personal page has been removed, and in lock-step reinforcement with other social media outlets, Facebook’s official statement has been blasted around the globe:
This is a horrific crime and we do not allow this kind of content on Facebook,” the company said. “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.
Way to play it safe, Facebook.
Yes, I know you aren’t to blame. You certainly did not hunt the streets of Cleveland in search of easy prey. You had no idea that a kindly grandfather, who had just returned from a family gathering, collecting trash that had accumulated and was a blight on his neighborhood, would be outside the safety of his home. How could you? You are busy managing 1.2 billion people on your platform, searching for fake news, hate speech, or other worthy endeavors social media giants are prone to do. There is a disturbing pattern emerging, dear Facebook—the show and tell of horrific acts of violence, and those perpetrators are choosing your platform to showcase their evil. As such, Stephens bloody tale is the just the latest in a string of brutal events.
Steve Stephens, obviously a mentally disturbed man, sought attention online that he lacked in his unfulfilling life. He fed his inner narcissism on a diet of social media, shamelessly pandering for ‘likes’ and comments to stroke his ego. And like all narcissists, he is a parasite in search of a host to gorge. And so it seems that Facebook has become the prime host for such lawless parasites.