Neighbors of Steve Stephens, the so-called Facebook Killer, say he had a gambling problem in the year leading up to his demise. Mr. Stephens, a 37-year old resident of Cleveland, allegedly murdered a 74-year old man on Facebook on Easter Sunday.
In the wake of his infamous crime, the events leading up to Steve Stephens’ social media crime have been scrutinized by the public. One aspect of Stephens’ spiral into crime and infamy was his reported gambling addiction, with The Sun reporting he had gambling debts in excess of £30,000.
One neighbor, when asked about his gambling debts, said she saw his multiple times at Horseshoe Cleveland (Jack Casino). While that is nothing out of the ordinary, that woman said his behavior in other ways was erratic going back decades ago.
Steve Stephens’ Attempts to Attract Women
Alexis Lee, a 34-year old neighbor, said she knew Stephens since the two of them were teenagers. Lee said Stephens bought a python at one time as a conversation piece, because it would give him something to discuss with women.
The neighbor said the python did not help Stephens get a date in the neighborhood, but he did establish rapport with local children. She said of the infamous criminal’s ploy, “It was a slimy thing to do and now he’s just a snake in the grass too. He didn’t really know how to talk to us ladies.”
Steve Stephens’ Gambling Addiction
Alexis Lee said she would see Steve Stephens at the local casino, enough to know he was a committed gambler. Lee said, “I saw him at the casino a couple of times and he would remind me that he always had a crush on me. One [time] he asked me to sit next to him at the tables, saying, ‘Be my queen… be my lucky charm.’ But I wasn’t interested. I just went home.”
Authorities said that Stephens has a history of financial problems. Some of those problems might have stemmed from gambling addiction, though that likely was only part of the problem. Steve Stephens declared bankruptcy in 2015. As last as March 2017, he was having his wages garnished.
Eventually, it all came to a head on Easter Sunday 2017. With mounting debts and mounting issues with his girlfriend, Steve Stephens chose to lash out at an innocent old man.
The Murder of Robert Godwin
The murdered man, Robert Godwin, a grandfather of 14 and a self-taught mechanic who was walking home from Easter lunch when Steve Stephens stopped him and filmed his murder. Stephens’ mother, who said her son made cryptic remarks the last time he visited her, said that the alleged murderer became murderous because he was angry with his girlfriend, Joy Lane.
As he began to menace Robert Godwin, Stephens began to film the crime. While live on Facebook, he told Robert Godwin that Joy Lane was the reason Godwin was being murdered. Stephens said, “She’s the reason why this is about to happen to you.”
Claimed to Have Murdered Others
In the video, Stephens claimed to have gone on a killing spree, murdering between 10 to 12 other people. Law enforcement said they did not believe the gunman had murdered anyone else, though.
In the wake of the Godwin’s murder, police conducted a 45-hour dragnet to find Stephens. They asked the public to provide tips, while it was rumored Stephens might have been harbored by friends or family members. Instead, he retreated to rural Pennsylvania, before finally surfacing at a McDonald’s in Erie, Pennsylvania.
Update: Spotted at a Pennsylvania McDonald’s
On Tuesday, Steve Stephens was spotted at a McDonald’s drive-thru in Harborcreek Township, Pennsylvania. Thomas DuCharme Jr., owner of the Harborcreek Township McDonald’s restaurant, said his employees spotted the infamous criminal and called the police.
DuCharme said that Stephens ordered a 20-piece McNuggets and french fries. One of the employees spotted Stephens, but doublechecked to make sure it was the wanted criminal. As Mr. DuCharme explained, the drive-thru window attendant told coworkers, “‘I think that’s the guy. Can you double check I’m right?’. When I saw him, I knew it was him. It fits the profile. He didn’t look that different than the picture but his beard was trimmed down.”
Stalled for Time with French Fries
The employees gave Stephens the McNuggets, but stalled for time by claiming they needed to fry-up another batch of french fries. As they stalled for time, the employees called local police to report Steve Stephens.
Eventually, Stephens grew impatient and drove off without his french fries or the change from the purchase. State troopers quickly caught up to his vehicle and gave chase. The end came about 5 miles from the McDonald’s restaurant.
Steve Stephen’s Took His Own Life
Pennsylvania State Police troopers gave chase after he was spotted at McDonald’s in Erie, Pennsylvania. One of the state troopers strategically rammed Stephens’ car, a move called the “PIT maneuveur.”
The Pennsylvania State Police said, “As the vehicle was spinning out of control from the PIT maneuver, Stephens pulled a pistol and shot himself in the head.”
Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams said he would have preferred if Steve Stephens had not been killed while police were apprehending him. Chief Williams said, “We’re grateful that this has ended. We would prefer that it had not ended this way because there are a lot of questions, I’m sure, that not only the family, but the city in general would have had for Steve.”