May 10, 2021 at 11:22 am #11411
Steven Pfeil was seventeen years old when he murdered a thirteen year old girl before killing his brother. According to court documents thirteen year old Hillary Norskog was last seen leaving a party with Steven Pfiel, three days later her body was found and she had been stabbed multiple times. Steven Pfeil was arrested soon after but would later be freed as his parents posted a huge bond.
The Pfiel family moved to a different community and soon after Steven would beat his brother with a baseball bat before slashing his throat with a butcher knife. This teen killer would receive a hundred year prison sentence for the Hillary Norskog murder and life without parole for the murder of his brother. Steven Pfeil has never given a reason for the murdersMay 17, 2021 at 2:16 pm #12804
On St. Patrick’s Day, Roger and Gayle Pfiel relaxed at a party – a respite from their waking nightmare, the murder accusation against their youngest son that had hung over their family for more than a year.
They returned home to find a cataclysm.Six squad cars and two ambulances lined the pothole-scarred rural road that separated their large and isolated Tudor home from a fallow cornfield.
Inside, their elder son lay dead, beaten with a baseball bat, his throat slashed with a meat cleaver. A young family member, the one whose hysterical telephone call had summoned help, had been raped.
For a family that already had too much grief to bear, there was one more terrible blow in store.
Police told them it was not an intruder who was responsible for the violence, but Steven – the baby-faced, 18-year-old son who had been charged with killing a young girl 20 months before.
The son for whom they posted a $100,000 bond and moved the family to the rural home when the taunts and glares of neighbors became too much. The son who, days later, penned a note to his parents from a jail cell.
“Mom and dad,” Steven Pfiel wrote, “now I’ve killed two people.”
* * *
“Wouldn’t it be cool,” Pfiel once told his friend Ed Prasauskas, “to stab someone in the head with this?”
In his hands he held a knife. He had pulled it from under the car seat, Prasauskas told the Chicago Tribune.
After the murders, those who knew Steven Pfiel searched their memories for indications of murderous rage in a boy who was raised under comfortable circumstances, in a ranch house under towering oaks.
Prasauskas, 18, remembered seeing his friend smash his stereo speakers with a pool cue; others recalled that he had been arrested once for smoking marijuana and drinking alcohol outside of his home.
Pfiel reveled in shooting pool, riding in fast cars and cranking up the volume when he listened to metal bands. He ran with a fast crowd at Stagg High School, where his record was unremarkable.
Pfiel knew Hillary Norskog, though they were just acquaintances. Hillary was 13, about to enter high school.
She was just starting to spend evenings away from the watchful eyes of her single mother. On July 14, 1993, she kissed her mom goodbye; she would likely party with friends, she said, and spend the night with a girlfriend.
Hillary and her friends headed to Hidden Pond Woods in a nearby forest preserve. The teens sat at picnic tables, laughed, drank a couple beers. At some point, Hillary apparently decided against spending the night at her girlfriend’s. She left the forest preserve in time to meet her 10:30 curfew.
Friends say that Steven Pfiel, just turned 17, offered her a ride home.
Three days later, two people walking behind a subdivision of million dollar homes not far from Hidden Pond found Hillary’s 80-pound body in a field of weeds. Beaten, stabbed and too decomposed to immediately identify, investigators recognized the Jurassic Park T-shirt her mother had described.
“She was so tiny,” Norskog said. “She never had a chance.”
* * *
Steven was arrested July 20 outside of his family’s Palos Park home, a short car ride from Hillary’s condominium. He told police the blood red stains that covered the seats of his 1988 Chevrolet were Kool-Aid.
He remained behind bars until Oct. 3, when his parents posted $100,000 of a $1 million bond.
Although Hilary’s mother Marsha Norskog kept intense pressure on prosecutors and police, the case against Steven was delayed again and again as attorneys wrangled over DNA evidence and its admissibility.
The trial has been put off once again, until June 21. Pfiel has been found fit to stand trial, but prosecutors and defense attorneys say they are working on plea agreements in both the Norskog case and the murder and rape case.
Norskog has long been convinced of Steven’s guilt. Last November, as he left the courtroom, she leaned from her seat and hissed in a stage whisper, “Why don’t you go kill someone else? You’re already killing me.”
The Pfiels, meanwhile, sat behind their youngest son at every court hearing and continued to back him publicly.
Media scrutiny had become excruciating, and the Pfiels decided to move with their children to St. John, Ind., just across the stateline.
They changed their minds after St. John residents learned of the plan – Norskog acknowledges playing a role – and mounted a letter-writing campaign to urge the Pfiels to go elsewhere.
The family settled instead in rural Crete, more than 30 miles from Palos Park. The 4,500-square-foot house was purchased quietly, for about $200,000 in cash, through the Pfiel’s lawyer. He referred to his clients by first name only, said sources familiar with the negotiations.
“We thought they were in the federal witness protection program,” said a neighbor who requested anonymity.
Other than a rowdy teen party late last summer, neighbors say they kept to themselves, the Pfiels kept to themselves.
By several accounts, Steven remained tight with his brother Roger, older by one year. Roger defended his sibling against those who believed him guilty.
“They were really close,” said friend Shawn Baker.
* * *
On the night of March 17, Roger and Gayle Pfiel left home for the 50-mile drive to Chicago and the St. Patrick’s Day party. In the hours after they left, the Pfiel home became a slaughterhouse.
How it came to pass, police do not know. But at 7:13 a.m. on Saturday, they received a frantic call from a young female family member, asking for help.
By the time police arrived, Roger Pfiel was dead in a bedroom. Police say he had been bludgeoned and slashed. The young woman who alerted police had been raped. Steven Pfiel had fled the home, taking with him his father’s shotgun and two rifles, said a deputy chief.
Several hours later, Mayor Michael Einhorn heard a knock at the front door of Crete’s tiny Village Hall.
“I need to talk to somebody,” said a young man wearing a black Metallica T-shirt. “I think I’m in some trouble.”
The mayor called police, who arrested Steven Pfiel. Sheriff’s police say Steven made a full confession to his brother’s death but gave no motive.
Pfiel’s parents have not visited their son since the day they found their lives undone.
“It’s a tremendous loss,” said their attorney, Raymond Pijon. “I don’t think there’s any way to assess it. There are no magic words that make this go away.”
At his first court hearing after Roger Pfiel was killed, Steven was led through a phalanx of reporters on his way back to jail. “Steven, do you have anything to say?” shouted one of the reporters.
Steven lifted both handcuffed hands, the middle finger on each extended upwards.May 19, 2021 at 1:51 pm #13147
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NOJune 6, 2021 at 9:15 pm #16190
Steven Pfiel pleaded guilty Friday to murdering 13-year-old Hillary Norskog, he was asked whether he had anything to say.
It was a moment that Hillary’s relatives and friends in the packed Bridgeview courtroom had long awaited. Many had attended more than two years of hearings, seeking some explanation, apology or even acknowledgement of the brutal crime from the 19-year-old defendant.
But Pfiel’s reply was terse.
“No, I do not,” he said.
Pfiel’s words provided a blunt ending to a dramatic hourlong hearing in Cook County Circuit Court that was punctuated by graphic descriptions of Hillary’s fatal wounds, Hillary’s mother’s fiery denouncement of Steven and his parents, and other exchanges that drew gasps and jeers from the crowd.
Pfiel was sentenced to 100 years Friday in the first part of a plea agreement announced earlier in the week in Will County Circuit Court. He is expected to plead guilty Sept. 22 to the murder of his older brother, Roger, and will be sentenced to natural life in prison without parole.
In summarizing the prosecution’s evidence, Cook County Assistant State’s Atty. Ed Snow gave the most vivid account yet of Hillary Norskog’s murder. Afteward, Marsha Norskog, Hillary’s mother, read a victim’s impact statement in which she angrily called Pfiel “a remorseless creature” and “a coward” and held his parents responsible for his actions.
When Pfiel’s attorney, Raymond Pijon, responded to Norskog’s statement in part by questioning why a 13-year-old girl would be allowed to stay out late with a 17-year-old boy, the courtroom exploded in cries of protest. Cook County Assistant State’s Atty. James McCarter stood up and shouted, “Objection!”
Circuit Associate Judge Harry Buoscio struck Pijon’s comments from the record.
Throughout, Pfiel stared stonily at the ground.
Palos Hills resident Hillary Norskog’s brutally stabbed body was found in a Palos Township field on July 17, 1993, three days after she was last seen leaving a party with Pfiel. Pfiel was arrested and charged with the murder but was freed when his parents posted the required $100,000 of a $1 million bond.
After the Pfiel family moved from Palos Park to Crete Township, Steven is alleged to have murdered his 19-year-old brother, Roger, by beating him with a baseball bat and slashing his throat with a meat cleaver in the early hours of March 18. Before fleeing the house and turning himself in later that day, Steven left a note for his parents, who were out for the night. “I now know I am guilty of two murders,” it read.
Defense and prosecution attorneys announced Wednesday in Will County Circuit Court that Pfiel would plead guilty to both murders in exchange for Will County not pursuing the death penalty in Roger’s killing. Pfiel was not eligible for the death penalty in the Norskog case because he was not 18 at the time of the crime.
On Friday, Marsha Norskog and Hillary’s friends and relatives congregated as usual on the right side of the courtroom aisle wearing pink ribbons in Hillary’s memory.
Across the aisle in the front row, Gayle Pfiel, Steven’s mother, made her first courtroom appearance since her oldest son’s murder. Her eyes were red, and she choked back tears when Steven was escorted into the room.
After Pijon discussed the plea agreement terms, Buoscio asked Pfiel a series of questions to determine, among other things, whether he understood the consequences of his plea. Pfiel’s responses were succinct-“Yes, sir.” He also acknowledged that he still is taking an anti-depression medication.
Snow then read the state’s evidence summary, which described how Hillary’s body had been found decomposed with at least 12 stab wounds “primarily in the head, neck and facial area.” The summary also recounted how investigators had recovered from Steven’s room a hunting knife with “small traces of reddish brown along the blade” along with a blood-soaked T-shirt and baseball cap.
DNA tests on those samples, as well on red stains discovered inside Steven’s car, matched Hillary’s blood, Snow said.
Snow finished his account by reporting a finding that Hillary’s trachea and voice box had been severed. By this time, Marsha Norskog, who said later she had never heard a full description of the wounds, was slumped over and crying.
In her statement, she moved from mourning Hillary to lashing out at Steven and his parents. Last month, she filed a civil lawsuit against the Pfiels that charges the parents with negligence for giving Steven the hunting knife that he allegedly used to kill Hillary.
“What made you think you could get away with murdering Hillary?” she asked, staring down Steven, who did not return her gaze. “Is it because you have never been taught to be responsible for your actions? You have had everything handed to you.
“That was obvious when I would watch you smugly walking in and out of court, your parents by your side coddling you,” she continued, fixing her eyes on Gayle Pfiel, who was looking down.
“All of us here today sentence you in our hearts to long days and nights of misery and struggle, like Hillary struggled for her life,” Norskog said. “There will be no pool table in your new room, no drugs, car, weapons, alcohol handed to you or money handed to you. Your pampered lifestyle is over.”
As Norskog returned to her seat, she passed Gayle Pfiel and harshly whispered, “You knew. You knew.” Pfiel did not respond.
Pijon then stood to defend Steven’s parents, saying he sympathized with Marsha Norskog for her loss, but not for her trying to get money from the Pfiels in her civil suit. He noted that “the stones you throw may come back in another direction,” then made his comments about Hillary’s being allowed to stay out late with 17-year-old boys.
Later, Pijon said he thought Norskog’s “attack on the family under these circumstances was unnecessary. . . . I said what I felt at the time was necessary to respond.”
But McCarter called Pijon’s comments “a cheap shot” after the hearing. “He was attempting to place blame on someone other than who brought us all here, Steven Pfiel,” the assistant state’s attorney said.
Norskog, surrounded by her two children and a crowd of supporters exchanging hugs outside the court building, she said thought Pfiel showed his “true colors” by not making any statement.
“Steven had an opportunity to say he’s sorry at the end,” she said. “There’s no remorse.”
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