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Born to Be a Serial Killer: Steven Pfeil

Steven Pfeil was born on June 7th, 1976. He is the middle child of his parents, Gayle and Roger Pfeil. Gayle and Roger had a son older than Steven, Roger Jr, and a younger daughter. The family lived in the upscale suburb of Chicago known as Palos Park. Steven lived a privileged life, but from an early age he demonstrated concerning behaviors. Should his parents have known he would become a monster?

When Steven was seven years old, he brutally beat a classmate. The violence was so bad that the police were called. Before he turned eight years old, Steven set fire to a motor home because he was upset with someone in the family who owned the motor home. Police were then called to yet another fight between seven-year-old Steven and another child. After he turned eight-years-old, Steven’s behavior began to escalate. Steven enjoyed dropping bricks off of overpasses, hoping to hit passing cars below.

As he grew older, the behavior became more violent and antisocial. At his ninth birthday party, Steven chased another kid with an axe. He became a bully, known to assault other kids in the neighborhood. When he was in the fifth grade, his neighbors petitioned for Steven to have his own bus stop in order to protect their kids from his behavior. He was arrested that year for vandalism at the Palos Park village Halloween party. While still in elementary school, Steven vandalized a classmate’s home with a knife and spray paint, drawing satanic symbols. He taunted other students with death chants as he bullied them.

As a young teenager, Steven’s behavior became increasingly more violent and consistent. Steven began drinking and utilizing drugs. He was arrested for underaged drinking and possession of marijuana. Steven’s high school friends said he was a habitual drug user who regularly smoked weed and sometimes used LSD. His parents were concerned about his heavy drinking and drug abuse. He was the kid that other parents wanted to keep their children away from. Steven was the bad influence.

Steven’s behavior became more and more impulsive, engaging in risk taking behavior. He and his friends sometimes went “car surfing”, where they rode on the hood of a car while another friend drove up to eighty miles per hour. Steven was close with his older brother Roger, and the two often partied together. Roger and Steven would compete to see who could handle the pain of a lit cigarette between their arms the longest. Steven was engaging in these sorts of self-harm behaviors as a teenager.

Steven broke his leg at age fourteen after riding ATVs carelessly. Roger and Steven were talked to by police and given a warning for riding snow mobiles across a neighbor’s yard without permission. At a July 4th party in 1993, Steven threw a firecracker into a crowd of people. When others got upset, he became agitated and angry. Steven didn’t seem to have an issue with his behavior. He was also known to be sexually aggressive and forceful with girls.

Steven’s parents didn’t seem overly concerned when the seventeen-year-old Steven became fascinated by Adolph Hitler. He even joined a group of kids who shared an interest in antisemitism. Steven’s parents were also aware that their teenage son had a hobby of killing small animals. In fact, he often swerved his car to purposely hit animals in the road. Steven had increasingly disturbing behaviors that seemed to have been largely dismissed as rebellious teenage behavior. Once, he pulled a gun and held it to another friend’s head.

For his seventeenth birthday, Steven asked for 5” hunting knife. His parents bought him the knife, which he began to always carry with him. In retrospect, his friends believe they missed another warning sign when Steven began to talk about fantasies of stabbing people while holding his knife. Perhaps Steven’s parents missed a red flag when the hunting knife was the only gift their son asked for. Steven’s family was very wealthy, and Steven was spoiled. He even had a pool table in his bedroom.

In the summer of 1993, seventeen-year-old Steven started dating an incoming freshman, thirteen-year-old Hillary Norskog. Hillary Lauren Norskog was born on July 26th, 1979. In 1993, Hillary had just finished elementary school and was looking forward to her first year of high school. That summer, Hillary was five feet tall and a tiny size zero. She had long, waist length black hair. She was beautiful and traditionally shy. That summer, she started spreading her wings a little bit.

Hillary met Steven Pfeil through a friend’s brother. The two started hanging out frequently. The shy, innocent Hillary started to spread her wings. She experimented with marijuana and partied with Steven. Her two closest friends, who were attending a private catholic high school that fall instead of the public high school Hillary would be attending, said she was upset about them not being in the same school next year. The girls got into a huge fight about Hillary’s new friends and partying habits. Hillary shared her first kiss with Steven.

Hillary’s mother, a single parent, was uncomfortable with the new friends her daughter had made but was trying not to stifle her daughter’s first taste of freedom. Hillary assured her mother that Steven and her new friends were good people. On July 14th, 1993, Steven and Hillary attended a party together in a picnic area of the Palos Forest preserves. About fifteen teens attended the party, most were drinking and smoking weed. According to witnesses, Hillary was not smoking weed. Steven and Hillary left together around eleven o’clock that night.

After leaving the party on July 14th, Hillary failed to return home. Her mother thought she was staying at a friend’s house, so it wasn’t until the morning of July 15th that she realized her daughter was missing. She hadn’t stayed at her friends, and no one seemed to know where she was. Teens told Hillary’s mother that she was driven home from the party by Steven Pfeil. When Gayle Pfeil answered the phone that day, she heard Marsha Norskog on the other line. She asked if she could talk to Steven about where her daughter was. Gayle said, “Don’t badger my son. He doesn’t need this aggravation”.

After Marsha reported Hillary missing and shared with the police what she knew, they decided to investigate. At the investigators’ request, Steven and his parents came to the police station. Steven allowed police dogs to sniff his car. As they opened the front passenger door, police found a dark red liquid stain on the seat. They asked Steven about it, who claimed he had spilled Kool-aide. He allowed the cops to obtain a sample of the stain. Despite his cooperation and instance that he didn’t know where Hillary was or what happened to her, the results on the stain confirmed it was human blood.

An extensive ground search was conducted the same day the lab confirmed the human blood inside Steven’s vehicle. It didn’t take long before human remains were found dumped in the field of an undeveloped subdivision just a few miles from Hillary’s home. Dental records later confirmed that remains to be that of Hillary Norskog. Police arrived at the Pfeil home to arrest Steven, only to find him airing out the inside of his freshly scrubbed car.

Hillary’s body, which had been found on July 17th, 1993, demonstrated proof of a violent attack. Hillary had been stabbed at least twelve times, primarily in the neck and face. Her face was so badly damaged that dental records were required for proper identification. Because of the intense brutality of the injuries, Marsha was not able to see her daughter after her remains were found. Hillary had put up a fight as evidenced by defensive wounds on her hands. Many theorize that Steven attempted to or actually did sexually assault Hillary, although evidence was not conclusive enough to add a sexual assault charge to the case.

The prosecution theorized that Steven likely tried to make sexual advances against Hillary but flew into a rage when she rejected him. She was stabbed with that very hunting knife Steven received from his parents just months earlier when he turned seventeen. For six months following the murder, the seventeen-year-old sat in Cook County Jail awaiting trial for first-degree murder. Roger and Gayle stated they felt it was best for Steven as the community was angry about Hillary’s murder.

Steven continued to profess his innocence, and his family stood by him. His parents eventually posted his enormous bail and brought their son home. They petitioned to move out of Illinois because of the hatred for their son in the community and alleged harassment. The judge declined to allow this, so the family instead relocated to nearby Crete, Illinois in Will County. Here, Steven was still pretty socially isolated as he had private tutors and did not attend high school. His parents were trying to shield him from society as he awaited adjudication.

While out on bail. Steven did manage to sneak away with his brother to some parties. At one, he scared some girls by telling them he was going to trial for murder. At another, he randomly fired a shot gun. Luckily, no one was hurt, but friends had to take the gun from Steven out of fear that things would get out of hand. The Pfeil family stood by Steven through it all, seemingly convinced he was being falsely accused.

On March 17th, 1995, Gayle and Roger Pfeil left to go to a St. Patrick’s Day party in the Chicago. Steven and Roger were home with their younger sister. The brothers spend part of the night drinking alcohol. Steven then said that he went to his room to smoke some weed. After he got high, Steven said he went back to Roger’s room. He went into his brother’s closet and retrieved a baseball bat. Steven said he wasn’t sure why, but he just started swinging the bat.

Steven stood over his nineteen-year-old brother and savagely beat him to death. Roger started to convulse, so Steven stopped swinging the bat. He didn’t take mercy on his brother, however, and instead retrieved a meat cleaver. He hit Roger with the cleaver once across his throat. After he killed his brother, Steven went to his sister’s room. For what is believed to be as long as four hours, Steven sexually assaulted his younger sister.

His sister called 911 in the early morning hours of March 18th. When the police arrived, Steven was gone. He had left with camping gear and three rifles. He left a note for his parents. In the note, Steven wrote, “Now I know I am responsible for two murders”, seemingly confessing to Hillary’s murder as well as that of his brother.

Steven spent five to six hours driving around aimlessly before he turned himself in at the Crete Village Hall. He told the mayor of Crete that people were probably looking for him and he was in big trouble. Upon his arrest, his bond on the original murder case was revoked and he was returned to Cook County from Will County. In Will County, Steven was charged with the first-degree murder of his brother and two counts of sexual assault against his sister. The sexual assault charges were dropped at the request of the Pfeil family.

In 1995, minors were still eligible for the death penalty in Illinois. In order to avoid the death penalty, Steven Pfeil accepted a plea deal. He plead guilty to the murder of Hillary Norskog and received a one-hundred-year sentence. In October of 1995, Steven entered a plea of guilty to the murder of his brother Roger. He was given a life sentence with no possibility of parole for this crime. Psychological evaluations determined Steven was not mentally ill but was rather remorseless and cold regarding his crimes. Steven Pfeil is a sociopath who many believe was born to be a serial killer, although two murders fall one short of meeting that definition. Steven is currently housed at Hill Correctional Center. He is currently forty-seven years old, spending nearly thirty years in prison so far.

Following the conviction of Steven, who remains in prison with no chance of parole to this day, Marsha Norskog filed a civil suit against the Pfeil parents for failure to supervise Steven and failure to intervene as a result of the numerous red flags in Steven’s history. The case went on for years, with the last update found in 2001. As of 2001, Steven’s parents were fighting to keep his mental health records private and suppressed from evidence in the civil case. They won, which mental health providers called a win for patient privacy. It’s unclear if the lawsuit was ever settled.


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