Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The "Murderer Of Facebook" Commits Suicide After Three Days Of Tracking

The killer who shocked America by spreading the murder of a grandfather on Facebook committed suicide on Tuesday after three days of tracking that forced the social network to review its policy against this type of content.

Steve Stephens, who has become the number one suspect in the United States, "committed suicide" after a brief prosecution, after the murder on Sunday in Cleveland, Ohio, was spotted by the police near Erie (Pennsylvania, The Pennsylvania police said.

The man, whose profile had been widely disseminated in the media, was reported to the police at about 1100 GMT after being recognized by a McDonald's employee near Erie, police said. Cleveland.

Dispatched to the scene, the police intercepted the car after a brief pursuit. The 37-year-old man "was killed," said police chief Calvin Williams.

Erie is about 160 kilometers from Cleveland. It is here that Steve Stephens is suspected of having killed Robert Godwin Sr., 74 years old.

The killer apparently never met this retired worker, father of nine children and grandfather, who was returning from an Easter lunch as a family.

Stephens had recorded a video of the murder and then put it online very quickly on Facebook.

- Understanding the motivations -

He is seen coming out of his vehicle and asking the old man to repeat the name of a person. The latter executes before starting a recoil movement while his murderer declares: "She is the reason why this will happen to you".

In another video, Stephens also claimed killing 13 people and preparing the fourteenth murder.

A hunt was first launched in four states before being extended to all American territory. Some $ 50,000 had been offered for information leading to his arrest.

"The number one priority was to ensure that Mr. Stephens would not make another victim," said Stephen Anthony, an FBI agent who was tracking down.
"The other priority was, of course, catching Mr. Stephens unharmed, and unfortunately he chose not to," he added.

Williams stressed how much the police wanted to interrogate him, to trace his journey since Sunday but also and especially to understand the motivations of this man visibly unstable.

"We really wanted to talk to him, to know why he did what he did ... There could be other people in comparable situations," he said.

"If there are people in trouble or who think they need help, they have to signal themselves and call, they can call the police, they can be referred to our specialists in psychiatry," he said. "He explained.

- Visible by children -

The chief of police also called on political leaders and social network leaders to take action to prevent this kind of content from being found on the Internet, visible "around the world", including by children, he stressed .

"It should never have been shared around the world, that's all," he said.

One of the victim's grandchildren, Ryan Godwin, had tweaked the Internet users to stop broadcasting the video of the murder, "respect" for his grandfather.

The day after the murder, Facebook was in the act of contrition. The California company released Monday a detailed chronology of the two videos by Stephens. And assured to have blocked his account 23 minutes after being alerted of the content of the video.

On Tuesday, President Mark Zuckerberg acknowledged that there was "a lot of work to be done".

"We will continue to do everything possible to avoid this kind of tragedy," he told a conference in San Francisco.

The murder on Sunday, which provoked much emotion and thousands of testimonies of solidarity to the family of the victim, is not the first broadcast on social networks.

In February, a double murder in Chicago was broadcast live on Facebook.

A two-year-old boy, Lavontay White, was in the back of a car with a 20-year-old aunt who used Facebook Live and a 26-year-old man when he was the target of a reckoning.

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