Earlier this week Steve Stephens filmed himself shooting and killing a 74-year-old man after he admitted that his gambling addiction had caused him to “lose everything” and left him “out of options.” After the random killing of 74-year-old Robert Godwin Sr., Stephens ignited multi-state manhunt, which ended with his suicide on Tuesday morning.
Stephens’ Struggle With Gambling Addiction
Stephens’ mother, Maggie Green, revealed that he paid her one last visit before he posted the video that has been making headlines across the nation. Stephens told his mother that that would be the last time she would ever see him. “Steve was a good Christian person…he just snapped…he had a gambling problem,” she said. Green learned of her son’s death when she heard it on the radio.
On Sunday, Stephens took to Facebook to post about how he had gambled his money away at the Jack Cleveland Casino, where security sources confirmed he was a regular. Stephens claimed that being with estranged girlfriend drove him crazy, which caused him to gamble and lose everything that he had. This sense of loss and helplessness is what caused Stephens to post a video of himself murdering Godwin, according to Stephens’ mother.
Local court records have since revealed a number of financial issues linked to Stephens’ gambling addiction. The 37-year-old was evicted from his apartment in Cleveland Ohio in January after he failed to pay his rent. Only five months earlier Stephens was evicted from another apartment, which led to the property management company suing Stephens for over $1,700 and garnished wages. Back in January of 2015, Stephens filed for bankruptcy, declaring more than $35,000 in debts for cars, student loans, and credit cards. The debt was eventually reorganized and paid the following year.
An unnamed casino worker reported that Stephens had been thrown out of the Jack Cleveland Casino a few weeks ago. Stephens had been accused of stealing money from another player before action was taken to have him removed from the premises. Another employee claimed to have seen Stephens gambling at the Jack almost every day.
Stephens’ video of himself shooting Goodwin was on Facebook three hours before it was removed for its graphic content. Stephens then was on the run for nearly 48 hours. In that time period his cellphone pinged in Erie, Pennsylvania, but a search by officials brought no results. As they continued the search on Tuesday morning Stephens was spotted in a McDonald’s parking lot in Erie County. Following a 2-mile chase, officers attempted to disable Stephen’s vehicle. The vehicle was spinning out of control when Stephens pulled a pistol and shot himself in the head.