Crime

New Information On Elderly Man Killed In Facebook Video

| by Sarah Zimmerman

Before Steve Stephens filmed the murder of 74-year-old Robert Godwin Sr. and uploaded it to Facebook, the elderly victim was enjoying Easter dinner with his family.

An April 16 video, which has since been removed from Facebook, shows Stephens approaching Godwin and asking him to say the name of a woman believed to be Stephens' ex-girlfriend, according to CBS. Godwin insisted that he didn't know the woman and Stephens shot the man in the head, leaving him to bleed out in the street.

Cleveland police have initiated a manhunt to track down Stephens, who recorded and uploaded a video of the murder to Facebook and openly bragged about killing others. 

Godwin was making his way home from Easter dinner with his son, Robert Godwin Jr. 

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"He hugged my wife and me and said 'I'll see you guys next time,'" said Godwin Jr., according to CNN. "I said 'Okay, enjoy your Easter.'"

The retired foundry worker had nine children and 14 grandchildren. When he left his son's house, he was seen carrying a plastic bag, something he often carries in order to collect aluminum cans he finds on the ground.

That's how Stephens found him.

"Here's somebody I'm about to kill," he said in the video, while exiting his vehicle. "I'm about to kill this guy right here. An old dude." 

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Although there were previously reports of the murder being streamed over Facebook live, a spokesperson for the social media company confirmed that the video was actually recorded and uploaded. It has been removed and Stephens' account has been deactivated, according to CBS.

"This is a horrific crime and we do not allow this kind of content on Facebook," the company said in a statement. "We take our responsibility to keep people safe on Facebook very seriously, and are in touch with law enforcement in emergencies when there are direct threats to physical safety."

Although the video was removed, CNN reports that social media users were still sharing copies widely over the internet. Godwin's grandson, Ryan, issued a passionate plea over Twitter asking people to stop sharing the video.

"Please please please stop retweeting that video and report anyone who has posted it! That is my grandfather show some respect," he wrote.

Police are warning the public that Stephens is armed and dangerous. He is believed to have fled Ohio and could be in Pennsylvania, New York, Indiana or Michigan. 

Multiple GoFundMe accounts have been set up by Good Samaritans to help raise money for Godwin's funeral expenses. Police report, however, that the family is asking people not to contribute to any of them as the pages were not set up by the family. The Godwins are in the process of setting up an official GoFundMe, which will then be released by Cleveland police. 

"It's not real. (My father) was a good guy. He would give you the shirt off his back," said Godwin Jr. "Feels like my heart is gonna stop."

Sources: CNN, CBS / Photo Credit: Facebook via The New York Daily News

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