The days, the hours, the minutes leading up to the Facebook killing

Updated 4:31 PM ET, Wed April 19, 2017

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(CNN)It was nothing but cruel coincidence that placed Steve Stephens and Robert Godwin on the same Cleveland street on Easter Sunday, but the storm clouds in Stephens' mind had been gathering for a while.

By some accounts, he was a close fraternity brother, an amusing -- if slightly awkward - friend, and son.
That doesn't tell the whole story.
Stephens was also deeply in debt, stewing on his relationship and toying with firearms. The days, hours and minutes leading up to him killing Robert Godwin, and posting the video of the execution on Facebook, foretell an act of violence that was far from random.

Last year: In debt and 'out of options'

For nearly a decade, Stephens worked at Beech Brook, where he helped teens and young adults navigate career and finances in the working world. All the while, the 37-year-old was battling a world of financial trouble of his own. Two years ago, as his debts climbed to more than $35,000, he declared bankruptcy.
Even when he emerged from it, his woes didn't stop.
He was evicted from an apartment in January. And as recently as March, an apartment property manager garnished his wages.
He was hemorrhaging money and it was apparent Stephens had a gambling problem. He would frequent casinos, including one in neighboring Erie, Pennsylvania.
One time, Stephens gambled until his bank account dwindled to zero, then slept overnight in his car until more money became available in his bank account the next morning, his brother said. Then Stephens went in and lost more money.
    "The past year's been really ******* up for me," he said in one of the videos recorded the day of the shooting. "You know, being with Joy Lane drove me crazy, started making me gamble. I lost everything. I lost everything I have.
    "I don't have ****. I'm out of options."

    Friday: Angry at his girlfriend and interested in guns

    From his rants, it's clear there was one thing eating away at him: His relationship with his then-girlfriend, Joy Lane.
    The two had been together for a while. They were supposed to get married and had even looked at engagement rings, Lane told CNN affiliate WJW.
    He often stayed at her home with her three young girls. On Friday, he was there fixing her garage, a neighbor said.
    Lane told CBS News that Stephens was a nice guy. "He is generous with everyone he knows. He was kind and loving to me and my children."
      But things changed. The couple broke up and Lane urged him to seek help for his gambling issues.
      Something happened that put Stephens, as he says in his video, "at my pushing point."
      "I was living over there with her," he said. "I woke up Friday and I just couldn't take it anymore, I just left."
      Amidst his personal turmoil, Stephens developed a fascination with guns. For the last six months, he was a regular at a gun range in Willoughby, Ohio.
      One video he posted on his Facebook page showed him shooting targets at the range.
        A staff member warns him not to "rapid fire" his handgun.

        The day before: An odd conversation

        Saturday morning, Stephens paid a visit to his mother to deliver, what in hindsight, sounded like a goodbye.
        "He said this [was] the last time I was going to see him," Maggie Green said.
        He's never had serious issues in the past, she said. So the conversation confused her.
        "If you see me again," he told her, "it'll be a miracle."
        That night, he called Lane to tell her he'd quit his job and was moving out of the state.

        The day of: A public murder and a public confession

        Early Sunday afternoon, Robert Godwin hugged one of his sons and started home after an Easter meal. The 74-year-old was a retired foundry worker who loved to fish and took extra pride in braiding his grandkids' hair.
        "He was just my best friend," Godwin's former wife, Dorothy Crumpton said. "Beside God, that was my best friend."
        As he walked, Godwin carried with him a plastic bag in his hand. He liked to picked up discarded cans.
        By the time Stephens pulled up to the curb in his white Ford Fusion, he was already recording what would be Godwin's final moments.
          "Found me somebody I'm going to kill," Stephens said to the camera. "This guy right here, this old dude."
          He got out of the car and walked over.
          "Hey can you do me a favor?" Stephens said, and asked Godwin to say Lane's name.
          Confused, the man obliged. "She's the reason why this is about to happen to you," Stephens said.
          He then pulled out a handgun and pointed it at Godwin's head.
          Godwin tried to shield himself.
          "Look, I don't know anybody by that name," he pleaded.
          Stephens fired once. Straight at Godwin's head.
          He walked back to his car and drove off, as Godwin lay on the sidewalk bleeding.
          It was a little after 2 p.m. on Easter Sunday.
          Stephens uploaded the video of the slaying to Facebook and, a few minutes later, started a Facebook Live in which he confessed to the murder.
          "I shamed myself. I snapped, I snapped. I just snapped," he said, while on the phone with an unidentified person. "I'm about to keep killing until they catch me, **** it. I'm telling them to catch me."

          The day of: Frantic phone calls and online rants

          Right before he posted the slaying video, Stephens called his fraternity brother Jason Clotman.
          "He was very apologetic," Clotman. said. "He said, 'Jason I let the line down, I let my fraternity down, I let Zeta Omega chapter down, I let the Fourth District down, he just apologized for what he was doing."
          Clotman said he didn't really know what Stephens was talking about. He tried to console Stephens, saying everything would be okay.
          Stephens responded he was about to post something on Facebook.
          "Once I read the post, I tried to call him back and he did not pick up," Clotman. said.
          Stephens talked to several other frat brothers within a span of minutes that day. They offered him space in their homes; an understanding ear. But the wheels of tragedy were already in motion.
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          Maggie Green, Stephens' mother, learned about the shooting from her youngest son. She was dumbfounded.
          She called Stephens.
          He calmly told her he was "shooting people" because he was "mad with his girlfriend," the mom said. The call was cut short when her phone died. It was the last time she'd ever talk to her son.

          Monday: Grief, confusion and a manhunt

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          The shocking murder prompted an immediate manhunt. Police said Stephens was "armed and dangerous." Panicked Clevelanders stayed inside. His place of work closed its offices. His girlfriend went into protective custody.
          Stephens had boasted in his videos he'd killed more than a dozen other people. Was he a serial killer or just violently unhinged?
          Authorities haven't found any evidence that Stephens took any other lives.
          After one of his detectives spoke with the suspect, Cleveland's Chief of Police said Stephens had "deep, deep issues."
          Cops searched every abandoned building in Cleveland and fielded more than 400 tips. People reported sightings as far away as Texas. A $50,000 reward was announced.
          At 4:30 p.m. on the day of the slaying, Stephens phone issued a "ping" or a signal to a cell phone tower in Erie, about 100 miles east of Cleveland.
          So, as they expanded their manhunt nationwide, they also zeroed in on Erie, looking to see if he was getting help from anyone in there.
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          In the midst of the chaos, Godwin's family came forward with a truly unexpected offering: Forgiveness.
          "Each one of us forgives the killer, the murderer," Godwin's daughter, Tonya Godwin-Baines, said.
          "If we don't forgive him, the Bible says your Heavenly Father won't forgive you."
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          Tuesday: A final shot

          Two days after he had shot and killed a man in cold blood, with the whole nation searching for him, Stephens pulled up to a McDonald's drive-thru window in Harborcreek Township in Erie County, Pennsylvania, and ordered a 20-piece Chicken McNuggets.
          The clerk immediately recognized him and called police. To stall him, the restaurant workers told Stephens they were waiting on a new batch of fries.
          "We were trying to give cops time to react," said the franchise owner, Thomas Dusharme.
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          Stephens, knowing something was up, took off. But the Pennsylvania State Police were right behind him.
          The chase only lasted five miles, a matter of minutes. Finally, a trooper rammed into his car. As the Ford Fusion was spinning out of control, Stephens pulled out a pistol and turned it on himself.
          Then, he ended the day-long ordeal as as he had started it: With a single shot to the head.