CLEVELAND – Accused Facebook triggerman Steve Stephens was a “quiet” teen — except when he pranced through the neighbourhood with a pet snake draped around his neck.
Stephens, 37, is accused of shooting to death Cleveland junkman Robert Godwin Sr, 74, then posting the sickening video on Facebook.
The elderly former foundry worker was collecting tin cans on a street when he took a bullet in the face.
Now, a massive manhunt throughout the northeastern and midwestern United States hopes to bring Stephens in to face justice.
“He could be nearby. He could be far away or anywhere in between,” FBI agent Stephen Anthony said.
Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams said as authorities posted a $50,000 reward for Stephens’ capture.
Stephens just the latest in series of online murders
TV news crew shot dead, murderer shares video
Police reported getting dozens and dozens of tips, and nine schools in Philadelphia were locked down Monday while authorities investigated possible sightings of Stephens. But they said there was no sign he was actually there.
So far, Godwin is Stephens’ only known victim, but on the social media site he boasted there were a dozen more corpses.
Neighbours in Stephens working class St. Clair-Superior neighbourhood in Cleveland said the youth job counsellor was “mild mannered” and kept to himself.
He was known in the hood as “Smokey.”
“I never saw him get mad at anyone,” neighbour Alexis Lee told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “I think he just needed someone to talk to. He just snapped. He’s not that type of person.”
Lee added that Stephens didn’t drink or use drugs.
But another neighbour told the newspaper that beneath the calm veneer, something wasn’t quite right. And it wasn’t the snake.
“As he got older, he got a little more weird, just his mannerisms and the way he carried himself,” Tony Henderson said.
It still isn’t known what unleashed the alleged shooter’s brazen daylight assassination of a harmless retiree but it may have to do with his ex-girlfriend.
Joy Lane told CBS News in a text that Stephens was “a nice guy” who was generous to everyone and was “kind and loving” to her and her kids.
But in the seconds before he blasted Godwin Jr., Stephens chillingly said that Lane “(is) the reason that this is about to happen to you.”
The victim’s heartbroken daughter said her tight-knit family has been shattered by the senseless killing.
“(He) wasn’t harming anyone,” Debbie Godwin said, adding her dad was a father of 10 who enjoyed fishing in Lake Erie.
Meanwhile, cops are warning people in Cleveland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Indiana and Michigan, to be on the lookout for the suspect.
Stephens is considered armed and dangerous
Source: Calgary Sun