Crime

McDonald's Workers Spot Facebook Killer, May Get Reward

| by Sarah Zimmerman

Law enforcement wants to award the McDonald's employees who called the police on Steve Stephens, the man dubbed the "Facebook Killer" for recording the murder of an elderly man and uploading it to the social networking site.

Stephens reportedly pulled up to a McDonald's drive-thru near Erie, Pennsylvania, on April 18 and ordered 20 McNuggets and a large fry, according to USA Today. The cashier recognized Stephens as the man who randomly killed a 74-year-old Cleveland man and uploaded a video of the murder online.

The employee immediately called 911, while a supervisor and the restaurant owner attempted to stall Stephens at the drive-thru window by telling him that his fries were delayed. However, Stephens took the McNuggets and sped out of the parking lot. 

Pennsylvania State Police troopers were in pursuit shortly after and one officer rammed into Stephens' vehicle to disable it, a commonly-used strategy in car chases called "PIT," CNN reports.

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"As the vehicle was spinning out of control from the PIT maneuver, Stephens pulled a pistol and shot himself in the head," police said in a statement. 

Stephens was wanted for the murder of Robert Godwin, a grandfather of 14 who was on his way home from Easter dinner on April 16 when he was shot in the head. 

"We're grateful that this has ended," said Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams. "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."

Godwin's daughter, Brenda Haymon, says she is disappointed that justice wasn't served. 

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"All I can say is that I wish he had gone down in a hail of 100 bullets," she said. "I wish it had gone down like that instead of him shooting himself."

Federal and local authorities want to reward the McDonald's employees up to $50,000 for their part in the capture of Stephens, TMZ reports.

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson announced a $50,000 reward on April 17 for any information that led to Stephens' arrest.

"There is an award up to $50,000 for the arrest of Mr. Steve Stephens," Jackson said. "The money comes from the FBI, ATF and U.S. Marshal Service."

Stephens was not technically arrested since he killed himself before cops could apprehend him, so it is unclear whether the employees will see any of the reward money. However, law enforcement officials confirmed that the workers made all the difference in ending the manhunt for Stephens. 

There has yet to be a meeting discussing whether the reward conditions were met.

Sources: USA Today, CNN, TMZ / Photo Credit: Zhao/Flickr

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