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DC Sightings of Facebook Murder Suspect Not Credible, Police Say

Tips are pouring in as police continue their search for the man accused of posting Facebook footage of himself killing a retiree, but police in Washington, D.C., say sightings of Steve Stephens in the D.C. are unfounded. 

Police have received tips that Stephens was spotted at a hotel in the District, but those reports have been deemed not credible, officials say. 

Meanwhile, the manhunt that started in Cleveland's east side expanded rapidly into a nationwide search for Stephens, a 37-year-old job counselor who worked with teens and young adults, police said.

"He could be nearby. He could be far away or anywhere in between," FBI agent Stephen Anthony said.

Law enforcement officials said his cellphone signal was last detected on Sunday afternoon in Erie, Pennsylvania, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) east of Cleveland.

Authorities have posted a $50,000 reward for Stephens' capture in the shooting of Robert Godwin Sr., a 74-year-old former foundry worker.

In the rambling video posted on Facebook, Stephens blamed a former girlfriend he had lived with, saying he woke up last week and "couldn't take it anymore."

"I snapped, I just snapped," Stephens said. 

But in a statement Monday, the woman shed little light on what might have gone wrong and said Stephens was good to her and her children.

As for the shooting victim, Godwin appeared to have been selected at random, gunned down Sunday afternoon after spending Easter with some of his children.

Godwin's daughter said he was killed while collecting cans in a plastic shopping bag.

"Not because he needed the money, it was just something he did," said 52-year-old Debbie Godwin. "That's all he was doing. He wasn't harming anyone."

She said her father, who had 10 children, was a gentle man with nothing mean about him.

In the shooting video, Stephens told Godwin a woman's name and said, "She's the reason that this is about to happen to you." The victim did not seem to recognize the woman's name. The gunman then pointed a weapon at Godwin, who shielded his face with the plastic bag.

The woman Stephens spoke of, Joy Lane, said in a text to CBS that "we had been in a relationship for several years. I am sorry that all of this has happened." She said Stephens was "a nice guy" who was generous to everyone.

The video of the killing was on Facebook for about three hours before it was taken down.

Investigators said that Godwin was the only victim so far linked to Stephens, despite his claim in a separate video on Facebook that he killed more than a dozen people.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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