CLEVELAND, Ohio — Cleveland Facebook killer Steve Stephens gambled at a West Virginia casino two days before he killed a 74-year-old man at random and posted the video on Facebook, sparking a nationwide manhunt.
Hancock County Sheriff spokeswoman Linda Stewart said surveillance video captured Stephens gambling on Friday at Mountaineer Casino in New Cumberland, West Virginia. Detectives went to the casino and verified the claim after getting a tip, Stewart said.
The video shows Stephens walking into the casino, playing table games, getting something to eat at a cafeteria and driving away from the casino.
The surveillance footage shows Stephens wearing what appears to be the same clothes as when he recorded himself on Facebook on Sunday before, during and after the shooting.
West Virginia State Police spokesman Lt. M.T. Baylous said investigators do not believe Stephens returned to West Virginia after the slaying.
Stephens in Facebook videos before and after the killing mentioned gambling and financial difficulties as reasons that he “snapped” and was looking for someone to kill.
He said his gambling had caused him to “lose everything” and left him “out of options.”
Stephens’ financial struggles included being evicted from apartments in Euclid and Warrensville Heights in the span of five months. He filed for personal bankruptcy in 2015.
Stephens, about 2 p.m. Sunday, pulled up next to Robert Godwin Sr., who was collecting cans while walking on East 93rd Street in the city’s Glenville neighborhood. Stephens shot Godwin in the face at pointblank range and uploaded the video of the shooting to Facebook.
Pennsylvania State Police said that Stephens was known to gamble at the Presque Isle Casino in Erie, Pennsylvania and were on alert watching for the possibility that he showed up in that city.
A Presque Isle spokeswoman said that Stephens had not been to that casino since March.