Robert Godwin Sr.

Family of elderly man whose murder was live streamed by Steve Stephens sues Facebook

The family of an Ohio grandfather fatally shot by “Facebook Killer” Steve Stephens has sued Facebook, accusing the company of not reporting the shooter’s previous threats to police.

Stephens, 37, fatally shot Robert Godwin Sr., 74, last Easter Sunday and posted the disturbing footage on Facebook, where it went viral. Though Stephens released other videos taking responsibility for other murders, police could only confirm that he killed Godwin.

The 37-year-old apparently killed himself following a police chase in Erie, Pennsylvania.

According to WEWS, Godwin’s daughter, Debbie, is suing on behalf of her slain father’s estate. The lawsuit, which can read in full below, accuses Facebook of failing to use data-mining technology that would’ve caught threats Stephens made online prior to the fatal shooting.

Since the company obtains and sells users’ information, the company has an increased duty to report dangerous behavior, they argue.

“Facebook prides itself on having the ability to collect and analyze, in real time, and thereafter sell [a] vast array of information so that others can specifically identify and target users for [a] variety of business purposes,” the lawsuit reads.

The lawsuit claims that, because of Facebook’s shortcomings, the father of 10 was killed “within a reasonable vicinity of Mr. Stephens’ location at the time the Facebook defendants learned of his intention to commit murder.”

In light of the lawsuit, Facebook Associate General Counsel Natalie Naugle told WJW that the platform provides users with tools to report harmful behavior.

“We want people to feel safe using Facebook, which is why we have policies in place prohibiting direct threats, attacks, serious threats of harm to public and personal safety and other criminal activity,” Nagule said in a statement.

“We give people tools to report content that violates our policies, and take swift action to remove violating content when it’s reported to us. We sympathize with the victim’s family, who suffered such a tragic and senseless loss.”

[Featured Image: Robert Godwin Sr./Facebook]