By Gabe Hartwell
On April 17th, 37 year old Steve Stephens shot and killed 74 year old Robert Goodwin while using Facebook’s “live” feature. The gruesome footage has since been taken down by facebook but can be found on YouTube. It shows Stephens driving down the street while recording himself, he then stops and gets out of the car and walks over to Robert Goodwin and asks “Can you do me a favor? Can you say Joy Lane, she is the reason this is about to happen to you?” He then pulls out a pistol and Mr. Goodwin can be heard scared and confused. The camera then points to the ground as the gunshot is fired then back at Mr. Goodwin’s corpse. After the murder, Stephens was broadcasting on Facebook claiming he had killed more people, but police believe Mr. Goodwin was the only victim. Stephens retreated to Pennsylvania and was recognized by a McDonald’s worker who called the police. After a brief chase when Stephens’s car was spun out, he turned his gun on himself.
Stephens worked for Beech Brook as a case manager and was terminated the day of his broadcasts. Prior to the incident Stephens had no criminal record with the exception of a few traffic violations. He didn’t even have so much as a one complaint about his behavior, so what lead him to gunning down an innocent stranger? The woman Stephens asked Goodwin to say the name of has said little to the press. She disclosed that she and Stephens had recently broken up, that she was appalled by his violence and that he had always been nice to her.
Robert Goodwin Sr. was a retired foundry worker, beloved by his family and community. One of his sons said “he would give you the shirt off his back”. He would go for walks and bring a shopping bag in case he found any cans by the road, which he would collect to clean the streets. He is seen holding this shopping bag in the video of his murder.
With the introduction of the live features on social media apps, there is an obvious opportunity to do terrible things for the world to see. The best we can do is, as always, be careful what you view on social media and use the live feature responsibly. If by any chance you see a violent or disturbing post on social media please don’t share it. Some people will always be terrible and now with the 21st century outlet of the internet they have the vessel to show the world. The more people who don’t share these posts, the less of an effect they have on us.