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TWINSBURG — Accused Facebook murderer Steven W. Stephens has killed himself after a brief pursuit by Pennsylvania State Police and other agencies in the Erie, Pa., area, according to Pennsylvania State Police.
"Steve Stephens was spotted this morning by PSP members in Erie County. After a brief pursuit, Stephens shot and killed himself," the Pennsylvania State Police said via social media at about 11:40 a.m. April 18.
"Our guys put a lot of time and effort into this case," said Pete Elliott, U.S. Marshal for the Northern District of Ohio. "We had tips from New york to Texas. Our goal was to shrink this individual's world and I think we accomplished that."
Twinsburg did not go untouched in the national manhunt, as Stephens likely visited the home of his ex-girlfriend on Ridge Meadow Court just days before his random Easter Sunday shooting of 74-year-old Cleveland man Robert Godwin Sr.
Godwin was shot by Stephens at 635 East 93rd Street in Cleveland.
A warrant had been issued by U.S. marshals April 16 for Stephens for aggravated murder in the matter, according to Elliott.
Throughout the nearly two-day search, Twinsburg police watched the home, located at an apartment complex off East Idlewood Drive, and increased their presence April 18 at the city’s five schools, according to Twinsburg Police Chief Chris Noga.
“It’s been a busy couple days for us. We’re asking everyone to be vigilant,” Noga said April 18.
Some reports indicated Stephens, 37, was at the ex-girlfriend’s Twinsburg home perhaps the day before his April 16 Facebook rant on the couple’s breakup and subsequent murder of Godwin.
“I understand that the suspect either frequented or recently lived in the city of Twinsburg,” Twinsburg City School District Superintendent Kathryn Powers said in an April 17 Blackboard Connect message to district parents.
The Twinsburg Police Department added “additional protection” for the Twinsburg School District, at Bissell Elementary School, Wilcox Primary School, Dodge Intermediate School, R.B. Chamberlin Middle School and Twinsburg High School.
“We are pulling from our patrol to provide a presence,” Noga said. “Safety and security are our mission.”
Powers sent out the Blackboard Connect message to all parents April 17, asking parents and students to be vigilant, but to proceed with normalcy. All extracurricular activities April 17 and 18 proceeded as planned, Powers said.
Powers said she received calls from parents April 17 who were concerned about “how to help protect our kids.”
“We made the decision to officially request an increased presence from police,” Powers said April 18. “We are in contact with local authorities, and we have our emergency management plan. Thanks to the assistance from the Twinsburg police, it’s been business as usual. There’s nothing more important to any of us than our children.”