Rocky's Heart Stolen
August 22, 1997 – Madison, WI
Rocky Peil Jr., 2870 Kingston Dr., ran a car detailing operation called Rocky's Custom
Detailing, at 931 Stewart St. in Madison. At the age of 33 he was an imposing 6’ 2”
250# Body Builder/Power Lifter. He was married to Kristine who was 7 months pregnant.
Kristine Peil contends that Rocky’s heart was removed without her consent or her husband's
prior permission and filed a lawsuit. According to the suit: Dane County Deputy Corner
Phillip Little arranged to have Peil's body sent to Waukesha for an autopsy. Dr. Michael
Chambliss, a forensic pathologist from Waukesha County removed the heart and sent it for
research. The body was cremated in October 1997 upon its return to Madison. Little told
Peil in February 2000 that her husband's file had not been returned to Dane County from
Waukesha. Kristine says that Waukesha County officials would not tell her whether Rocky's
heart had been cremated with the rest of his body. United Hospital told Kristine that in
March 2000, the heart was still being used for research by students.
In the end someone from Cress Funeral Home in Madison drove up to St.Paul and personally
brought Rocky's heart back.
Rocky died in police custody after being subdued by police officers who responded to a
residential burglary call in the town of Madison. Even before this incident Rocky had a
reputation with Madison police as a hell-raiser with an occasional penchant for bizarre
behavior. That day police saw Peil tear siding off a building, put his fist through a
window, crawl under a fence, and eat grass he tore from the ground. A preliminary autopsy
indicated that Peil had a lethal dose of cocaine in his body and that his death was
accidental. No signs of external trauma or foul play. The excessive force lawsuit Kristine
later filed against the arresting officers was dismissed.
About 3:35 a.m. a town of Madison police officer went to the Alhambra apartments to
investigate a report of a barbecue grill being stolen off a patio. In all, 12 law
enforcement officers responded to the vacant lot near 2810 Kingston Dr. to help bring Peil
into custody: two town of Madison, three Fitchburg, six city of Madison and one Dane County
sheriff's deputy. The officers tried to talk Peil down. Officers did not use any weapons
when they placed leg shackles around Peil's wrists. Handcuffs were not an option with Peil
because of his size and strength. Officers held Peil's legs and arms during the shackling.
That was when an officer noticed Peil had stopped breathing. Efforts to resuscitate him
failed. He was taken to St. Marys Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
1992, he pleaded guilty to federal charges of trafficking in anabolic steroids.
May 1992, Guy Kyriakopoulos watched Peil beat a man senseless outside the Parthenon
restaurant at 327 W. Johnson St. Gregory G. Bradley went to the restaurant to get change
for the nearby Triangle Market where he worked. While inside, Peil and another man began
heckling Bradley, court records show. The man ignored them and walked outside, but Peil
followed him out the door. Kyriakopoulos said Peil struck Bradley several times and
continually picked him up and threw him down. Peil was convicted of misdemeanor battery
in connection with the incident.
December 1991, six police officers learned of his awesome strength first hand when they
tried to arrest him at his flat. "Mr. Peil was able to drag the six officers through the
apartment". Even after placing Peil in two sets of handcuffs, two officers had to sit on
him to bring him under control. A blood test later showed that Peil had a cocaine
metabolite in his system.
August 1989 account of Peil's behavior draws the most remarkable similarity to the actions
attributed to him when he died: Nearly eight years ago, when a neighbor looked out
his Fitchburg apartment window at 4:15 a.m., he saw Peil stripped to his waist, crawling
on the ground moaning and groaning. He told police Peil bowled over lawn furniture
and rammed his head into the side of the apartment building several times. Later that
morning, witnesses reported seeing Peil standing on the roof of a car at a nearby
Rocky Peil Jr.