Joy Lane, the former girlfriend of Cleveland murderer Steve Stephens, is speaking out about the events that led up to the murder her ex-boyfriend uploaded on Facebook.
“The hashtags Joy Lane, Joy Lane massacre, I don’t know if I know how to be Joy Lane anymore,” Lane says to WJW Tuesday, April 18. “I don’t know how to pick up all the pieces of my world at this moment.”
Stephens shot and killed 74-year-old Robert Godwin Jr. on Easter Sunday after dropping Lane’s name in a video he posted of the incident on Facebook. Within 48 hours after Stephens’ video made headlines, Lane said she unsuccessfully tried to call him.
Lane said she and Stephens had dated for a while and looked at engagement rings recently. The couple mutually broke up and remained friends while Lane urged Stephens to get help for a gambling problem.
“The last time I talked to him was Saturday night,” Lane says. “Around 9 p.m., we talked and he told me he had quit his job and he was leaving [Ohio].”
Stephens was the subject of a five-state manhunt after Godwin’s murder. He was ultimately found dead of suicide Tuesday in a car in Erie, Pa., after a brief police pursuit.
“I’ve got a lot of negative comments,” Lane says ahead of the news of Stephen’s death. “I’ve been called almost every cuss word in the book. I’ve been told that I’m the one who should have died.”
Lane has received support from family, friends and Tonya R. Godwin-Baines and Debbie D. Godwin, the daughters of the Cleveland shooting victim. The three met for the first time on Tuesday.
“It’s hard because I feel bad,” Lane tells the sisters.
Godwin’s daughters told Lane what happened is not her fault and that she shouldn’t blame herself.
“We don’t hold any ill feelings toward you [and] not even toward Steve,” Godwin-Baines says before everyone prayed for healing. “I’m angry with him, yes. But I forgive him.”