Steve “Stevie Steve” Stephens, the Cleveland man who police say killed Robert Godwin Sr. and posted the murder on Facebook on Sunday, tortured his pets as a teenager, a former neighbor said. The neighbor also said that Stephens wore a snake around his neck.
Tony Henderson told the Daily Beast that he wasn’t surprised to hear Stephens say “All my life, I’ve been a monster” in one of the Facebook videos he posted on Sunday. He said he always thought Stephens was “out there.”
“I never quite understood that kid through his entire life, because on some days he would talk to you, and then on others he would be mean and staring at you and very quiet,” Henderson told the Daily Beast. “It’s not like he was running around the street scaring old people when he was a teenager, but what he did on Easter Sunday doesn’t surprise me.”
Henderson said that Stephens was “not normal” and claimed that he saw Stephens torture a bird. He told the Daily Beast:
He asked me to come in and see his pet bird, so I went in their house. He had a parakeet and he had that bird crawl from the cage and on to his finger. Then he slapped the bird as hard as he could with his other hand, and the bird was lying on the floor. The bird looked dead to me. I looked at him and his was smiling and laughing as he looked at me and that bird. Hey, animals don’t make you weird like that. He was that way before he got that bird. Heard he used to torture other pets he had. He was like that from the time I first met him.
Henderson lived near the home Stephens shared with his mother, sister and brother on East 85th Street in Cleveland. Neighbors told Cleveland.com that they saw Stephens walk around with a large snake wrapped around his neck.
“As he got older, he got a little more weird, just his mannerisms and the way he carried himself,” Henderson told Cleveland.com.
Another neighbor, Alexis Lee, told the Daily Mail that she believed Stephens used the snake as a “party trick” to get attention from women. She said that Stephens “didn’t really know how to talk to us ladies,” but told her that he had a crush on him.
“He was good to the kids and he would worry about them crossing the street or getting lost and said, ‘Hold hands now.’ But he always seemed a bit lost and I’m not surprised that he’s upset about his girlfriend and blaming her for what he’s done,” Lee told the Daily Mail.
Lee also told Cleveland.com that she never saw Stephens “get mad at anyone,” adding, “I think he just needed someone to talk to. He just snapped. He’s not that type of person.” She also said she never knew of Stephens to use drugs and alcohol. Lee added that the last time she saw him was the day before the murder, walking into his mother’s house.
Charisse Leonard also told the Daily Mail that Stephens “was confused about his sexuality and could even have been gay.”
In the video that appears to show Stephens killing Godwin, he asks Godwin to say Joy Lane‘s name. Lane was Stephens’ longtime girlfriend and he blamed her for his decision to kill a person he did not know. “We had been in a relationship for several years. I am sorry that all of this has happened,” Lane told CBS News.
Stephens was wanted for aggravated murder and was on the loose for two days. Police have offered a $50,000 reward for information.
However, GoErie is now reporting that Stephens killed himself in Erie, Pennsylvania. He shot himself while driving at around 11:10 a.m. ET near Buffalo Road and Downing Avenue.
The man Stephens is accused of killing is 74-year-old Robert Godwin Sr., the father of 10 children. There is a GoFundMe account set up to raise money for the Godwin family.