Broward News

Accused Murderer Brian Krebs, Real-Life "Stifler," Goes to Trial After Five Years

Brian Krebs went to East Grand Rapids High School with American Pie screenwriter Adam Herz. According to a 2011 New Times story, Krebs was a rowdy, drunken sod of sorts back in the day, so much so that when Herz sat down to write the classic 1999 bro-comedy, Herz reportedly based the hard-partying, hard-drinking, sex-obsessed Steve Stifler —  on his old classmate.

Krebs was charged with second-degree murder for stabbing a Fort Lauderdale man to death in 2011.

Krebs' case was big news, occupying major column inches in the Sun-Sentinel and New Times itself, which devoted an entire cover story to the murder. But the killing was five years ago, and in that time, Krebs' case somehow hadn't gone to trial. Until last week.

According to Broward County Court records, Krebs was finally plunked in front of a jury on Monday, June 6, and stood trial every day last week except Friday. He's due back in court for the fifth — and final — day of trial at 9:30 a.m. today. Closing arguments will be read today.

Krebs, now 43, is accused of killing local drummer Jimmy Pagano, then 57, at Fort Lauderdale's Fishtales Restaurant and Nightclub, off NE 33rd Street and North Ocean Boulevard. Krebs was apparently $2 short on an $8 bar tab on April 17, 2011. After leaving, getting changed, and coming back with pockets full of knives, Krebs returned at 3:30 a.m., and apparently began yelling and causing some kind of disturbance.
Eventually, a few of the bar's regulars, who by that point were milling about, smoking cigarettes, and playing pool, told him to get out.

"Tell you what," Pagano — one of the city's most-beloved musicians and concert promoters — said to Krebs. "I'll pay your tab if you get the hell out of here. Just go."

At this, a fight broke out, and Krebs — who has a long history of violent incidents and arrests — allegedly plunged a knife into Pagano's neck, killing him in seconds. Krebs is now charged with second-degree murder and five counts of attempted second-degree murder with a weapon.

It's taken five years for the case to reach trial. Richard Castillo, Krebs' lawyer, said it's simply taken that long to depose each of the 75 witnesses in the case before a trial could begin.

"My partner and I picked the case up two, two and a half years ago," he said. "None of the depositions had been done. So we had to take depos of 75 witnesses, and then coordinate all those depositions."

Krebs took the stand last Thursday. According to Castillo, Krebs is claiming he attacked in self-defense: Castillo said Krebs' injuries were so severe, he would have died had he not been operated on. "He had internal bleeding," Castillo said. "They had to 'resect' some of his intestines. He also had injuries to his colon, so they removed his colon; had he not been operated on he would have died."

Castillo alleges that his client, upon "acting like a jackass" and "making a check out to 'The Biggest Cunt Ever,'" was almost dragged out of the bar by one man. The two got into a fight, and then Pagano jumped into the fray. Krebs is claiming he was hit in the back with something that "felt like getting stabbed," which led him, in turn, to stab Pagano in the neck.

But Krebs has apparently had some issues keeping himself out of trouble while in jail, too. On May 13, 2011, Krebs got into a fight with another inmate. After getting put on lockdown for 20 days, he said his medication "made him angry," and that he was just "having a bad day."
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Jerry Iannelli is a staff writer for Miami New Times. He graduated with honors from Temple University. He then earned a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University. He moved to South Florida in 2015.
Contact: Jerry Iannelli