CLEVELAND - The children of a 74-year-old man gunned down on his way home from an Easter meal have a message for his suspected killer, who is now the target of a nationwide manhunt.
Steve Stephens, 37, is wanted for aggravated murder after he allegedly shot Robert Godwin Sr. Sunday afternoon – then posted a video of the homicide on Facebook, according to Cleveland police.
Tonya Godwin-Baines, one of Godwin's daughters, said the family is absolutely devastated and is calling for Stephens to turn himself in.
"To the young man who murdered my daddy, I ask that you please surrender," Godwin-Baines said. "I forgive you and love you but, most importantly, God loves you. God can heal your mind and save your soul. Please."
Godwin was the father of 10 children - six girls and four boys.
Godwin's children said the reason they are able to forgive Stephens is because of their father, who took them to church every Sunday and always stressed the importance of forgiveness.
Robert Godwin Jr. said the woman who Stephens blames in the Facebook video is also in the family's thoughts and prayers: "We know it is not her fault. She should not feel like it's her fault."
Godwin Sr.'s children described him as a wonderful person who loved his family and said they want their father to be remembered for the good he did in his life, not for the horrific video.
"If you do watch it, it should make you want to change," Godwin Jr. said.
The family is asking people not to share the disturbing footage but, for those who do, Godwin Jr. asked they "take something from it."
There is now a $50,000 reward for information leading to the Stephens' arrest. The FBI; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and U.S. Marshals provided the money for the reward.
Anyone with information about the suspect's whereabouts should call 1-800-CALL-FBI. If you see Stephens, do not approach. He is considered armed and dangerous.