Steve Stephens felt angry. He was always angry. This time it was his girlfriend’s fault. He wanted to get rid of the anger. The way he did it was to shot anyone. That person happened to be a 74-year-old-man, Robert Godwin, walking down the street. Simmering internal anger can be alleviated by violence. It reminds me of self-harming. I think they have similar motivators. Perhaps it a way of hitting back combined with low self-esteem.
He posted the shooting on Facebook. He filmed his murder. This reminds me of the ‘murder’ of Tiger the tabby cat by Kristen Lindsey who also posted her crime on Facebook.
Clearly Stephens had mental health issues on a grand scale. It is intriguing that he worked at a mental health facility for children. He was counseling kids on mental health issues?
The guy who lived across the street from Stephens, Tony Henderson, said that it was obvious to him that Stephens was not normal.
“….I could see something wasn’t right. He was smart, but some days he seemed OK with talking to people on the street, but on other days he was staring off into space with a blank face. He was very up and down…
He asked me to come in and see his pet bird, so I went in their house. He had a parakeet and he had that bird crawl from the cage and on to his finger.
Then he slapped the bird as hard as he could with his other hand, and the bird was lying on the floor. The bird looked dead to me. I looked at him and he was smiling and laughing as he looked at me and that bird.
….He was that way before he got that bird. Heard he used to torture other pets he had. He was like that from the time I first met him.”
This is a another clear cut example of a man with serious mental health problems (anger seems to be the main uncontrolled emotion) who had an uncontrollable desire to perpetrate violence against others and who graduated from animals to humans. He claimed to have killed 15 people.
How many animals did he hurt or kill? How many cats did he hurt? Perhaps none but we won’t know. A lot of violence against outdoor cats is unreported. People like Stephens know they can get away with it.
The connection between violence against animals and people has been once again evidenced in brutal clarity. This is why animal abusers must be taken very seriously and both treated and punished. Fortunately, in the USA, the FBI considers animal cruelty as a precursor to crimes against people.