The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Editorial: Drive-thru worker deserving of reward on Stephens


May 3, 2017

If they aren’t already in the process, the FBI, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and U.S. Marshals Service should give the McDonald’s worker — who identified the man wanted for gunning down a 74-year-old retiree and posting the murder on Facebook — the $50,000 reward they offered for Steve Stephens’ capture. Stephens killed himself after a brief chase.

The unnamed worker recognized Stephens last week as the wanted killer went through the fast-food restaurant’s drive-thru in Erie, Pennsylvania, after ordering a 20-piece Chicken McNuggets and fries.

Two days earlier, Stephens had gunned down Robert Godwin Sr., a 74-year-old former foundry worker in Cleveland, then posted the chilling murder on Facebook.

Godwin, the father of 10 who was picking up aluminum cans when he was shot, is believed to have been a random victim. Stephens, 37, said in a Facebook video he was having trouble with his girlfriend and losing everything he had to gambling when he “just snapped.”

The ensuing two-day multistate manhunt drew toward a conclusion when the McDonald’s worker recognized Stephens and dialed 911 to report the suspect’s location. A co-worker attempted to delay Stephens’ departure by claiming they were waiting on his French fries, but Stephens drove quickly out of the parking lot, nearly colliding with another vehicle, according to police.

Police chased Stephens’ car for about two miles before they spun his vehicle out with a squad car near an abandoned school. Seconds later, Stephens fatally shot himself.

Law enforcement officials said it was the McDonald’s worker’s tip that led them to Stephens.

Whoever he or she is, a $50,000 reward will no doubt be welcomed by a blue-collar worker who chose to do the right thing when it would have been easy not to get involved. Instead, a desperate and armed fugitive was stopped in his tracks.

That’s well deserving of the posted reward.

— Albuquerque Journal


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