Brian Krebs, Inspiration for American Pie's Steve Stifler, Convicted of Murder

Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of South Florida and help keep the future of New Times free.

Brian Krebs, 42  — the real-life inspiration for Steve Stifler, the rowdiest, drunkest, most upsettingly bro-ish film character since Bluto Blutarsky; the man American Pie screenwriter Adam Herz reportedly based the famed bro-mancer on — was convicted last Wednesday of second-degree murder, ending an ordeal that had stretched on for more than five years.

Herz attended East Grand Rapids High School with Krebs. Stifler, meanwhile, played lacrosse at the fictional "East Great Falls High School."

Like Stifler, Krebs apparently never quite grew out of his "drunk and disorderly" phase. Unlike Stifler, his actions were decidedly unfunny. 

On April 17, 2011, Krebs — preppy, with a "meaty" five-foot-eleven-inch build and curly red hair — wandered into the Fort Lauderdale biker-bar Fishtales and ordered $8 worth of alcohol, only to realize he was $2 short on the tab. This being Krebs, a man with a long, documented history of violence and legal issues, his response, according to his lawyer Richard Castillo, was to write out a check to "The Biggest Cunt Ever."

Krebs then went home, got changed, filled his pockets with steak knives, and returned to Fishtales at around 3:30 in the morning. He burst back into the bar and proceeded to shout and cause something of a ruckus before the few regulars still there intervened. Krebs responded by punching one on the shoulder.

It was then that Jimmy Pagano, a large, teddy-bearish local drummer and music promoter, stepped in. Pagano, who had a gap-toothed smile and warm sense of humor, was one of the most well-known — and well-liked — musicians in Fort Lauderdale. 

"Tell you what," Pagano, 57, said to Krebs. "I'll pay your tab if you get the hell out of here. Just go."

Krebs instead charged at the crowd that had gathered and rewarded Pagano for his offer by knifing him in the neck. Pagano collapsed to the floor and died almost instantly.

Krebs was eventually charged with one count of second-degree murder and five counts of attempted second-degree murder with a deadly weapon. The case was then marred by an astounding five years' worth of delays — Krebs' lawyer, Richard Castillo, said that when he took up the case, two-and-a-half years in, there were still 75 witnesses who needed to be deposed. The case finally went in front of a Broward County jury on June 6.

According to Castillo, the jury deliberated for "about six hours" before returning a verdict last Wednesday, June 15: The jury found Krebs guilty of murder, but acquitted him on the attempted murder charges.

Krebs had maintained that he stabbed Pagano in self-defense. He said 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 the jury didn't buy it. Castillo now says his client was stunned.

"He was enjoying watching us," Castillo said. "We're going to file a motion for a new trial. He feels confident about the appeal. He was in good spirits."

Krebs' sentencing hearing is set for August 19.

Pagano's friends and family had set up a remembrance page on Facebook: On Wednesday, they posted this reaction:

Keep New Times Broward-Palm Beach Free... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering South Florida with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in South Florida.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in South Florida.