“The Facebook Killer” commits suicide after police chase; Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg responds
Views 45 | Time to read: 3 minutes | Uploaded: 4 - 25 - 2017 | By: Kaitlin Jensen
Steve Stephens, the now infamous “Facebook killer,” killed himself after a three-day police chase last Tuesday, April 18.
Stephens posted videos of himself on Easter Sunday, one announcing his intent to murder, and the other of the actual murder itself. Later, he went on Facebook again, to talk about the murder and other crimes committed. He claimed to have killed 13 people and said that he would kill again until “they catch me.” One video showed him demanding that an elderly man say his girlfriend’s name, after which Stephens said, “She’s the reason this is about to happen to you.” Police stated that the man murdered was the only victim as reported by The New York Post.
The man murdered, who was apparently selected at random, was 74-year-old Robert Godwin Sr. According to The Rolling Stone, he was a self-taught mechanic, father of ten and grandfather to 14 children. His funeral services were carried out last weekend.
After posting his video, Steve Stephens went into hiding. Mercury News reports that police set up a massive manhunt for him in five states: Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, New York and Pennsylvania. When an order came through a McDonald's drive-thru window in Pennsylvania on Tuesday, the restaurant manager recognized Stephens from news reports. The McDonald's staff tried to stall him by withholding his order of fries while they called police. Authorities were unable to apprehend him at the restaurant as he sped off without his fries.
However, The New York Times reports that the police chased him a mile down a nearby road, where Stephens stopped in a former school parking lot. Before the police could take further action, Stephens pulled out a pistol and shot himself in the head.
The family of the Facebook killer said that Stephens felt he should have been more successful in life and was upset over the end to a relationship. Stephens “snapped and turned into a whole different person. That is not my son,” his mother told CNN.
The videos were up for around two hours before Facebook received its first report about the shooting. According to The New York Post, eventually Facebook took down Stephen’s page. Since Facebook Live, people have broadcasted over 60 sensitive videos including murders, suicides and beatings, according to a tally by The Wall Street Journal. Facebook created Facebook Live for people to post raw, vulnerable videos, but they did not invent a sensor system, therefore, some videos are not appropriate for public viewing.
Facebook President Mark Zuckerberg said at a conference later this week that, “our hearts go out to the family and friends of Robert Godwin Sr., and we have a lot of work — and we will keep doing all we can to prevent tragedies like this from happening.”