Ex-girlfriend of accused Facebook killer appears in court

CLEVELAND - 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, was in court this afternoon to explain why she should not face any contempt of court charges.

Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Timothy McCormick, who is hearing a civil case filed on behalf of the Godwin family against Facebook, set Wednesday’s hearing date to determine if Joy Lane should be found in contempt of court.

Attorneys for the Godwin family filed a brief 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 all written communications between Lane and Stephens, including Facebook messages. The attorney for the Godwin family said the information is relevant to the lawsuit.

Lane and her attorney are presenting  their side on the matter during the hearing. While on the stand this afternoon, Lane said her ex-boyfriend, Steve Stephens, was obsessed with getting likes on Facebook.

A letter from attorney Andrew Kabat to Lane in April asked 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 stated. “You did not honor your commitment at that time. As a result, I have utilized the process permitted by law to obtain the documents.”

In court on Wednesday, Lane agreed to turn over everything that had been subpoenaed by August 2.

We contacted Lane previously 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.”

Kabat disagreed.

“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.

The Godwin family is also expected to ask the judge to issue an order requiring Bridgett Tamar Berry, a former coworker of Stephens, to comply with a subpoena seeking electronic communications, “with and from Mr. Stephens.”

Continuing coverage of this story here