Homicide

Robert Godwin, Cleveland murder victim, spent final hours with family

Cleveland police hunt for man they believe shot and killed another person in Easter attack

 

Robert Godwin spent his holiday weekend fishing, seeing his kids and indulging in a favorite hobby: strolling the Cleveland streets with a shopping bag looking for the aluminum cans he collected.

It was while Godwin, 74, was walking just south of Interstate 90 on Sunday afternoon that he was approached by Steve Stephens, who police say pulled out a camera phone, and then a gun and murdered Godwin for no apparent reason.

The manhunt for Stephens has now expanded out of Ohio and into four other states – Pennsylvania, New York, Indiana and Michigan – after the brazen self-shot video of Godwin’s execution was posted to Facebook. One of Godwin’s nine children told Cleveland.com he hasn’t yet watched the horrifying clip that shows his father’s final moments.

“I haven’t watched the video. I haven’t even looked at my cellphone or the news,” Robert Godwin Jr. said. “I don’t really want to see it.”

Godwin Jr. had just seen his father hours earlier as the older man picked up basketball equipment for another son, Cleveland.com reported.

“He hugged my wife and me and said, ‘I’ll see you guys next time,’” Godwin Jr. said. “I said, ‘OK, enjoy your Easter.’”

Then he went looking for cans. Stephens apparently targeted Godwin at random. In the video of the killing he can be heard asking Godwin if he knew a certain woman. Godwin’s family said he did not, and, in the video, Godwin’s initial puzzlement over the question quickly gave way to fear as he apparently realized Stephens was holding a gun. Moments later, Godwin was dead.

“When the detective walked up, she didn’t have to open her mouth because her vest said ‘homicide,’” Godwin Jr. said about how he was informed of his father’s death.

Godwin left behind 14 grandchildren in addition to his own kids.

“I just want him caught,” Godwin Jr. said of Stephens, who vowed to keep killing until he was caught. “Because he can do it to somebody else.”