Search for Cleveland Killer Is Over
CLEVELAND (AP) — The man who randomly killed a Cleveland retiree and posted video of the crime on Facebook shot himself to death in his car Tuesday during a police chase in Pennsylvania, ending a multistate manhunt less than 48 hours after it began.
Acting on a tip, Pennsylvania State Police spotted Steve Stephens, 37, in Erie County, in the state's northwest corner, and went after him. After a brief chase, he took his own life, authorities said.
"This started with one tragedy and ended with another person taking their own life," said Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams. "We would have liked to have brought Steve in peacefully and really talked to him about why this happened."
Stephens, a job counselor who worked with teenagers and young people, was wanted on an aggravated murder charge in the shooting of Robert Godwin Sr., a 74-year-old man who was picking up aluminum cans on Sunday when he was gunned down.
Stephens posted a video of himself killing Godwin, a former foundry worker and a father of 10. "I snapped, I just snapped," Stephens said.
Police would not speculate on what was behind the killing, but in the video and other footage he posted, Stephens talked about losing everything he had to gambling and having trouble with his girlfriend.
One of Godwin's daughters, Debbie Godwin, said she wished Stephens had been captured.
"I'm not happy he's dead at all, not at all. If you did it, you have to face your crime," she said.
The break in the case came when police received a tip that Stephens' car was in a McDonald's parking lot, Willlams said.
The chase lasted 2 miles, and troopers managed to disable Stephens' car, state police said. As his car was spinning out of control, he shot himself in the head with a pistol, police said. A pursuing trooper's car slid into Stephens' vehicle, but the officer was not injured.