Accused Ohio "Facebook killer" found dead after pursuit

Courtesy GoFundMe
Courtesy GoFundMe
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20 April, 2017

"After a brief pursuit, Stephens shot and killed himself", Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) said on Twitter on Tuesday.

Stephens, 37, became the subject of the nationwide manhunt after posting what looked to be his gruesome shooting of 74-year-old Robert Godwin Sr. on a Cleveland street and a later confession to it on Facebook Live.

"I forgive him because we are all sinners", Robby Miller, Godwin's son, said in an interview with CNN.

There has been no mention, so far, as to who will receive the reward of up to $50,000 that was offered for the arrest of Stephens, if anyone does.

Stephens posted a video of the killing to Facebook, where it remained for more than two hours before the social network removed it.

Police investigating Stephens, though, say they have found no evidence indicating he actually killed the 13 other people. Law-enforcement officials said the chase did not go over 50 miles per hour.

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"Keeping our global community safe is an important part of our mission", they continued, adding "We are grateful to everyone who reported these videos and other offensive content to us, and to those who are helping us keep Facebook safe every day".

Stephens' recent Facebook posts give insights into a deeply troubled man who earlier in the week complained that he had "lost everything" due to gambling debts.

Stephens filed for bankruptcy two years ago despite holding down a job as a counselor helping young people develop job skills and find employment. The behavioral health agency where he worked said an extensive background check before he was hired turned up nothing worrisome. Before the shooting, Stephens demanded that he say "Joy Lane", the name of his ex-girlfriend.

Yesterday, there were reports that Stephens was spotted in Philadelphia's Fairmount Park area, but police said the reports were unsubstantiated. "I am sorry that all of this has happened". MORE: Daughter of man gunned down in Facebook video - "I saw the fear in my father's eyes " One of Godwin's daughters, Debbie Godwin, said she wished Stephens had been captured, saying he should have faced his crime. When the vehicle fled, officers followed in a short pursuit.

The Cleveland police thanked officers across the country as well as those behind the almost 400 tips that helped the police locate the shooter.


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