Two daughters of the Ohio man whose random killing last week was captured in a Facebook video met earlier this week with Joy Lane, the woman whose name their dad was ordered to utter moments before he was killed.
According to Fox 8 in Cleveland, the meeting between Lane — murder suspect Steve Stephens’ ex-girlfriend — and victim Robert Godwin Sr.’s daughters Debbie Godwin and Tonya Godwin-Baines was therapeutic for all three, whose lives have been rocked by the recent violence.
Robert, 74, was walking down a Cleveland street on Easter Sunday when authorities say he was gunned down by Stephens in broad daylight. Police claim the elder Godwin was asked to speak Lane’s name before he was shot as his killer said, “She’s the reason that this is about to happen to you.”
CNN reports that at their meeting, Lane and Robert’s daughters hugged and talked about their pain. Blame was not assigned.
Lane told Fox 8 she felt horrible that Robert’s last words were her name.
“I feel bad. The last thing that he would have said was my name and didn’t know me or why he was saying it. And that’s been difficult,” she said.
• Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.
Lane says she’s also been on the receiving end of a social media backlash since the shooting.
“The #Joy Lane [and] #Joy Lane massacre — I don’t even know who ‘Joy Lane’ is anymore or how to pick up all the pieces of my world at this moment,” she told Fox 8.
“I’ve got a lot of negative comments,” she said. “Some even said he should have killed me.”
According to ABC News, Lane and Stephens dated for a while and even discussed marriage, but she broke off the relationship because of his gambling.
She last spoke with him the night before the killing: She told Fox 8 he said he had quit his job and was moving out of state.
She attempted to reach Stephens after learning of the Facebook footage, but said he never answered his phone.
Robert’s daughters told Lane the killing was not her fault, according to the station.
“Each one of us forgives the killer, the murderer,” Godwin-Baines told CNN on Monday, noting her father taught his children the importance of forgiving.
Another daughter, Brenda Haymon, told CNN she learned of Stephens’ suicide while arranging her father’s burial. She struck a different tone than her relatives.
“All I can say is that I wish he had gone down in a hail of 100 bullets,” she said. “I wish it had gone down like that, instead of him shooting himself.”