The woman named as a motive for the brutal killing of a Cleveland retiree earlier this month has said she still loves her late boyfriend Steve Stephens, who took his own life as police apprehended him.
On April 16, Easter Sunday, Stephens got out of his car and approached a man, Robert Godwin, Sr., 74, who was walking home from an Easter celebration with his family. While recording cell phone video that he later posted to Facebook, Stephens asked the man to say the name “Joy Lane” and then said that the woman was the reason for what was about to happen to him.
Stephens then shot the retired father and grandfather in the face, killing him, and took off in his car. He was apprehended two days later after McDonald’s employees in Erie, Pennsylvania, recognized him. After a brief police pursuit, Stephens shot himself to death in his car.
In an exclusive interview with Inside Edition, Lane said that she and Stephens were still a couple and were still living together at the time of the brutal killing. But she also said that had recently given her boyfriend an ultimatum to choose between his destructive gambling habit or the relationship.
She reportedly had no idea Stephens would have such an extreme reaction to her ultimatum. She described one of their last interactions (it’s not clear if it was their final in-person interaction) to Inside Edition, claiming that everything was fine at home in the days before the killing.
“I was in my bedroom and he was downstairs getting ready for work,” Lane told Inside Edition. “He said, ‘Hey babe,’ and I said, ‘Hey,’ and he said, ‘Have a good day,’ and I said, ‘You too, have a good day.'”
Lane characterized her ex-boyfriend as a loving man and the killing as completely out of character for the man she fell in love with.
“I miss the Steve that I knew, not the Facebook killer,” she said.
I think of him as a good guy who did something really wrong. I believe Steve loved me probably like no man has ever loved me before.
Still, Lane told Inside Edition that she was devastated that an innocent man died, and that her name was one of the last things he heard.
“Mr. Godwin didn’t deserve this,” she said. “His family didn’t deserve this, his children, his grandchildren, his loved ones. They didn’t deserve to feel this type of hurt and pain of missing their loved one.
The full interview with Joy Lane will air on Inside Edition on Friday night.
Photo: Screenshot/Inside Edition