Steve Stephens, aka “the Facebook killer” was a troubled man. He was in financial ruin and his personal life had spun out of control. Stephens wasn’t properly handling his circumstances, which led him down a path of destruction.
On Easter Sunday, Stephens took some time to see his mother. He told her that was the last time she would see him. Stephens’ mom was unsure what he meant, but knew he was having issues in his relationship with girlfriend, Joy Lane.
An unsuspecting man, who had no connection to Stephens, was walking home from a family gathering Sunday. Stephens saw him and chose his victim. This man was 74-year-old Robert Godwin.
Stephens approached Godwin and started filming their interaction. Stephens put a gun to Godwin’s head and told him to say his girlfriends name, “Joy Lane”. Stephens then shot Godwin on the street and fled.
Later that Sunday, Stephens posted the video of Godwin’s death on Facebook.
The video revealed Stephens saying, “She’s the reason why this is about to happen to you,” referring to Lane.
After the video went up, Lane tried to reach Stephens with no luck. From that point on, Stephens was on the run.
His journey began in Cleveland, OH where he jumped in a white Ford Focus to escape being caught.
Along his way, he decided to stop and get some food at the McDonalds drive thru in Erie, PA. It didn’t take long for someone to notice who he was.
The young lady at the first window of the drive through took Stephens’ money and immediately notified her supervisors and called the police.
As Stephens pulled to the next window, the supervisor ran and took the place of another young lady working that window. The police were in route, but the McDonalds staff knew they needed to keep Stephens there as long as possible.
The owner and supervisor of the McDonalds took action. They told Stephens his fries were going to take a few more minutes. But Stephens wasn’t having it and left with only his nuggets and left without his change.
Stephens pulled away from the restaurant as the police were right behind him. Stephens didn’t give it up right away. The police had to tail him for 2 miles until they forced Stephens to spin out.
Before the officers could detain Stephens, he pulled the gun on himself and died on the scene.
Although the outcome is extremely sad, the staff at the McDonalds did the right thing and are heroes! Their community thanks them immensely for their quick thinking and boldness to stop the killer.
The dear life of victim, Robert Godwin will never be forgotten. Godwin’s daughters spoke out about their father’s killer and what they said will move you to tears.
Their response to their dad’s death is truly inspiring. They spoke with genuine forgiveness and peace about their tragic loss.
The Godwin family lost a father and grandpa that day. Their memories of him will live on and will be cherished forever.
Although nothing will ever change what happened, they are walking through this tough time with the Lord. He will prevail, even in the midst of horrific events.
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23
Thank you Godwin family for showing us what chasing after God looks like no matter the circumstance. They are loved unconditionally by their Savior and in turn, they are doing the same to Stephens.
Thank God for the brave staff at Mcdonalds! Please continue to keep the victim’s family in your prayers, and please share their incredible story of faith and forgiveness.