CLEVELAND – The Fox 8 I-Team has learned the former girlfriend of Steve Stephens, the man police say shot and killed Robert Godwin Sr. and then posted the murder on his Facebook page, is now finding herself in possible legal trouble.
Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Timothy McCormick, who is hearing a civil case filed on behalf of the Godwin family against Facebook, has set a July 2 hearing date to determine if Joy Lane should be found in contempt of court.
Attorneys for the Godwin family filed a brief in court asking the court for the hearing, stating they had sent a subpoena to Lane in March requesting several items , but she has not complied. The subpoena is seeking several different items, including all computers, cell phones, tablets or other electronic devices that Stephens used. The motion also seeks several other items, including all written communications between Lane and Stephens, including Facebook messages.
“Ms. Lane has no adequate excuse for blatantly refusing to obey the subpoena served upon her in connection with this lawsuit,” the motion states.
A letter from Attorney Andrew Kabat to Lane in April asking her again to comply was attached to the motion.
“Please recall that we spoke about the documents requested in the subpoena in May 2017 and you promised to provide them to me,” the letter states. “You did not honor your commitment at that time. As a result, I have utilized the process permitted by law to obtain the documents.”
We contacted Lane to discuss the case and she issued the following statement to the I-Team.
“The death of Mr. Godwin is a tragedy,” Lane said. “However, the harassment by the Godwin’s attorneys, who are trying to sue Facebook, to the family and friends of Steve Stephens is unwarranted. They are also grieving and traumatized. They have lost jobs, have had their homes broken into and have received over a thousand death threats from around the world.”
“I am sorry that anyone has suffered as a result of this tragedy,” Kabat stated in a written response to the I-Team. “I have not harassed Ms. Lane. Rather, I am simply seeking information relevant to our dispute as permitted by the civil rules that govern our litigation. Ms. Lane chose to ignore those rules and she must now explain her decision to the court.”
In 2017, two of Godwin’s daughters met with Lane and told her they don’t blame her and they forgive Stephens.
Lane said at the time that she was receiving threats from many people on social media.
Stephens died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound a few days after the murder.
Lane did not say if she plans to honor the subpoena before next month’s hearing.