The girlfriend Steve Stephens blamed for the horrific Facebook video murder of an elderly stranger told CBS News he was a “nice guy” but says she is very sorry for what Stephens has done.
Joy Lane has spoken to the national news media via text message and to her friends on Facebook. Stephens made his victim, Robert Godwin Sr., say her name in the video posted to Facebook before he allegedly killed the man, who had just returned from Easter dinner with his children.
On April 18, police announced that Stephens had committed suicide in his car in Erie, Pennsylvania. Read more about his death here. Stephens was cornered by Pennsylvania State Patrol after eagle-eyed McDonald’s drive thru workers recognized him when he tried to buy chicken McNuggets and fries. He shot himself while his car spun out after police implemented a PIT maneuver.
The day Stephens died, Lane met with two daughters of his victim, and they embraced, according to Fox 8 Cleveland. They wanted Lane to know they don’t blame her, the television station said, adding that Lane said, “The hashtags Joy Lane, Joy Lane massacre, I don’t even know who Joy Lane is anymore, or how to pick up all the pieces of my world at this moment. I’ve got a lot of negative comments. Some even said he should have killed me.”
A massive manhunt was underway as Stephens disappeared after the Cleveland murder; police said he might be headed to New York, Pennsylvania, Indiana or Michigan. Although he promised an Easter Sunday massacre of many more people in Lane’s name, police have found no evidence that Stephens killed additional people.
Some news stations have referred to Lane as Stephens’ ex wife, but she told CBS News she is his girlfriend. Lane is a clinical supervisor who works in children’s behavioral health, according to her LinkedIn page. (Stephens also worked in the same area: at a facility for troubled youth.)
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Stephens Blamed Lane for His Behavior & Made the Victim Say Lane’s Name
Stephens, in the Facebook video, attempted to blame Lane for his actions. He says in the video that he “snapped because of a woman,” reports the Columbus Dispatch.
According to CBS News, he randomly approached the victim, Godwin, “to say a woman’s name and pulls out his gun. The elderly man repeatedly tells the suspect he doesn’t know the woman… but the suspect pulls the trigger, shooting the man in the head, leaving him bloodied in the street.” The woman whose name Stephens ordered the victim to say is Lane. It was all captured in the horrific Facebook video, which has now been taken down. You can watch it via a link at the end of this article, but be aware it’s very graphic and disturbing.
“Find me somebody I’m about to kill, I’m gonna kill this guy right here,” Stephens says on the video as he gets out of his car and looks for someone to kill. “The older dude.” He walks up to Godwin and asks him to “do me a favor” by saying “Joy Lane.” Stephens adds, “Joy Lane—she’s the reason this is about to happen to you.” Then, he kills Godwin, a stranger to him.
A massive manhunt is underway in Cleveland for Stephens, who also claimed he’d murdered other people on Easter Sunday, although police can find no evidence of that.
Police have been talking to Stephens’ family and friends, reported the Columbus Dispatch.
Joy Lane the comedian has posted on Facebook that she is not the Joy Lane who is Stephens’ girlfriend, writing, “I’m Joy Lane the comedian I don’t know anyone in Cleveland…So stop with the threats and pleading for me to call this man THAT I DON’T KNOW!”
Facebook now says that Stephens did not use the Facebook Live streaming service but filmed and then posted the murder video to Facebook. Authorities fear he might be out of state.
2. Lane Said She Was Sorry for What Happened but Called Stephens a ‘Nice Guy’
Lane has described herself as Stephens’ longtime girlfriend. She said they had been dating for years, and that she wanted to expressed condolences to the family members of Godwin, according to CBS News.
However, she also had kind words for Stephens.
She told CBS News in a text message: “We had been in a relationship for several years. I am sorry that all of this has happened. My heart & prayers goes out to the family members of the victim(s). Steve really is a nice guy…he is generous with everyone he knows. He was kind and loving to me and my children. This is a very difficult time for me and my family Please respect our privacy at this time.”
You can watch Lane’s only interview on camera here. The section with Lane starts at about 46 seconds in.
Shortly after news broke of the shooting, Lane wrote on Facebook that she was safe and was praying for all involved – including Stephens.
Lane – who also went by the name Joy Carr on Facebook – wrote, “This is the fastest way to update everybody. I am safe and with the police. I am Not okay… this is a lot. I can’t believe this is happening. I am very sad for everyone involved. I am praying for them and I am praying for Steve. He needs help.” She has since deleted her account. A friend took a screenshot of the message:
Her page had said she was an Air Force veteran. Some people on Twitter are leaping to her defense.
In the horrific Facebook murder video, Stephens says at one point, “I’m killing motherf*ckrs, all because of this b*tch… She’s putting me at my pushing point,” he says. “I was living over there with her, I woke up Friday and I just couldn’t take it anymore, I just left. Here I am, massacring motherf*ckers. Today is the Easter Day (girlfriend’s name) massacre.”
However, police – who even swept abandoned homes looking for additional victims because Stephens said in the video he’d killed more people – say they haven’t found any additional victims other than Godwin.
According to The Daily Beast, Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams “said guns were seized from a home in the city of Twinsburg, a suburb of Cleveland, that is listed in court records as the home occupied by Stephens” and Lane.
3. Police Say That Lane Fully Cooperated With Them & She Has Worked as a Case Manager at an Organization for Vulnerable Youth
As the manhunt unfolded, police said they had secured Lane’s help in doing whatever she could to help them put an end to it all.
Cleveland.com reports that police say Lane is cooperating with them.
Lane was in protective custody for her own safety while Stephens is at large, according to the news site.
According to her LinkedIn page, Lane has worked for the past nine months as a clinical supervisor for Murtis Taylor Human Services System. The site says she provides “guidance and leadership to a community based team of Therapists and CPST workers.”
She also worked for 11 years as a case manager and therapist at Beech Brook, which also employed Stephens. Her LinkedIn page says she earned a master of science degree from Case Western Reserve University in Social Administration /Non Profit Management and received her bachelor’s degree from Cleveland State University in sociology and criminal justice.
Beech Brook’s LinkedIn page says, “Since 1852, Beech Brook has been helping Northeast Ohio’s most vulnerable children and families. Over the past year, Beech Brook’s staff served 20,000 children and families. From prevention and early intervention programs to intensive treatment for the most seriously disturbed youth, Beech Brook helps to heal troubled children and strengthen families through these and other services.”
During the video, in which Stephens randomly shoots Godwin, he repeatedly flashes his employment badge and references working at Beech Brook. Stephens then guns down Godwin, a father of nine and grandfather he didn’t know.
News5 Cleveland reports that Stephens claimed he worked as a case manager at the facility.
Listen to Stephens talk about his job:
Stephens, authorities say, is a black male who stands 6-feet 1-inch and weighs 244 pounds and has a full beard. Stephens was last seen driving a white Ford Fusion with temporary license plates, Cleveland police say.
Beech Brook officials weren’t very specific about Stephens’ duties there, but they issued statements expressing shock and horror and confirmed he worked there. According to Cleveland19, Beech Brook is a “behavioral health agency headquartered in Pepper Pike, with an office on Woodland Avenue in Cleveland.”
“We are shocked,” the facility officials said to News 5 Cleveland. “We learned about the incident via Facebook. We are horrified. We are hoping for a quick resolution and we hope no one else is harmed.”
4. Lane Teaches at a University & Stephens Said Lane ‘Drove Him Crazy’ in the Facebook Murder Video
Lane’s LinkedIn page says she is on the adjunct faculty of Cleveland State University, where she has worked since 2014. She provides “educational instruction to the School of Social Work Students” and oversees “field placements at community based organizations,” the page says.
In the Facebook video in which he murders Godwin, Stephens talks about Lane at some length. He says she “drove him crazy.” They were supposed to be married, he says, adding, “we are all human and we all have breaking points.”
He spoke negatively about Lane on Facebook.
In the video, he also says, “People would come to me with their problems, I would deal with my problems every day. But when it comes to my problems, nobody gives a f*ck. It’s like I’m always the bad guy, no matter what the f*ck I do, people always making it out on me… Innocent people about to die today. Hopefully I’m going to try and kill as many people as I can and be on death row or whatever the case may be. I just don’t give a f*ck no more. I’m beat, I’m tired, you know.”
CNN reported that, according to neighbors, Stephens often stayed at Lane’s home with her three young girls and was there recently fixing her garage.
Lane told Fox 8 that Stephens told her he was moving out of state and quitting his job. After she saw the Facebook video, “she tried to reach him …but he never answered his phone,” reported the television station.
Stephens was no stranger to firearms, and brandishing them on social media was something he freely did; he posted a series of other videos on Facebook that show him shooting guns. You can watch those videos here:
5. Stephens’ Mother Says She Told Her Son to ‘Stop’ but Stephens Tried to Put Blame on Her Shoulders Too
Stephens’ mother, Maggie Green, confirmed the domestic motive to the shooting in an interview with CNN, saying she had tried to no avail to stop her son before he went on the rampage.
She told CNN that “she had spoken to her son on Sunday and he told her he was ‘mad with his girlfriend. That’s why he is shooting people and he won’t stop until his mother or girlfriend tell him to stop.'”
Green told CNN that “she told her son to stop. She said she was upset and in disbelief.”
In addition to his girlfriend, Stephens tried to cast blame for his behavior on his mother.
Stephens said in the video that he went to talk to his mother to say he was feeling suicidal and homicidal but she didn’t seem to care and he blamed her in part for his actions.
“Didn’t care, it don’t matter, people would come to me with their problems, I would deal with my problems everyday,” Stephens says in the video. “But when it comes to my problems, nobody gives a f*ck. It’s like I’m always the bad guy, no matter what the f*ck I do, people always making it out on me…. Innocent people about to die today. Hopefully I’m going to try and kill as many people as I can and be on death row or whatever the case may be. I just don’t give a f*ck no more. I’m beat, I’m tired, you know.”
According to CNN, people who saw the Facebook video of the murder called police.
You can watch the video here. Be aware that it’s very graphic:
Read more about Steve Stephens in Spanish at AhoraMismo.com: