The three-day manhunt for Facebook Live killer Steven Stephens ended with Stephens’ suicide, but his victim’s family wishes it had turned out differently. Debbie Godwin, daughter of victim Robert Godwin Sr., instead would have liked to see Stephens brought to justice.
“If you did it, you have to face your crime,” she told The Associated Press. “I’m not happy he’s dead at all.”
“I’m not happy the man is dead,” she continued in an interview with Time. “We wish he would have served the time for what he did to my father. He didn’t get to pay any penalty for what he did to my father. That was the easy way out.”
Stephens, 37, was on the run after randomly shooting and killing the Ohio grandfather and father of 10 in broad daylight and broadcasting the whole incident on Facebook Live. After a nationwide hunt, he was located in a parking lot at a Pennsylvania McDonald’s. Police attempted to pull him over and chased him briefly, but he eventually turned the gun on himself and was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
While Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson insisted that Stephens’ death brings about some closure in his slaying of an innocent man, Godwin’s family disagrees. Instead, they would have preferred if he were still alive, so that he would have to face prison time for the Sunday shooting.
The murderer’s mother Maggie Green said her son attempted to visit her one day before killing Godwin to say goodbye, possibly foreshadowing his suicide.
“Steve was a good Christian person […] he just snapped […] he had a gambling problem,” Green said after learning of her son’s death. “He was a gambler; [that’s what] started all of this.”
According to her, Stephens told her that he had broken up with his girlfriend, whom he blamed his murderous rage on, and told her, “This is going to be the last time you see me.”
“Steve, whatever you’re thinking, I love you. Don’t go out there and do nothing stupid,” she reportedly told him.