Hills bio fraught with fallacies

Revival leader admits he inflated stories

The Pensacola News Journal/November 18, 1997
By John W. Allman

Pensacola -- Working the stage four nights a week at Brownsville Assembly of God, his blue eyes blazing and his right leg pumping like a piston, Steve Hill relates to people by firing off snippets of Scripture interspersed with images from his own life.

One of his favorite message topics is: "Each man writes his own legacy." Hill has already endeavored to write his. It is his autobiography, "Stone Cold Heart," that colorfully details his ascent from a life of crime and drugs.

Night after night at the Pensacola Brownsville Revival, Hill repeats those same stories about his past, quoting many of the details in his book.

But the facts of his past often differ from what he says and what he wrote.

  • The self-proclaimed "former junkie" and "heroin addict" was never a heroin addict.

    The truth, which Hill admits, is that he inflated the stories about his drug use to make a bigger impression on audiences.

    "I dont mean to call myself a junkie. I call myself a drug addict," he said during a recent interview. "Heroin addict has more of an impact on peoples lives when they hear it."

  • The man who says that from 1972 to 1975 he was arrested "13 times" has only three arrests on his record in his hometown of Huntsville, Ala.

    When asked to document the other arrests, Hill told the News Journal that many were for "crimes that were never solved" and that they occurred in a number of states, but he says he cant remember specifics. For example, he said one arrest was "on some campus" in Tucson, Ariz. Pressed for further details, Hill instead sketched vague accounts of other misdeeds:

    Hill said he was questioned but was never detained in connection with the murder of a Huntsville socialite.

    Hill said he used to buy drugs from a former police chief.

    Hill said he broke into pharmacies to steal drugs and was arrested once for that crime.

    But no records could be found to back up his assertions.

  • After graduating from high school in 1972, Hill said he wandered the country for three years, working odd jobs and using and selling drugs.

    Yet, according to employment records requested by the News Journal, Hill worked a full-time job in Huntsville during the time he claims he was on the road.

  • In his autobiography, Hill says he was expelled from high school and implies it happened more than once.

    During a recent interview, Hill said that never happened.

    Even minor details who opened a door, who placed a telephone call are not accurate and Hill admits it.

    Hill told the News Journal that he even made up names in his book.

    Nowhere on the cover or inside the book does he say that names have been changed.

    Nor does the book warn the reader that the stories are anything other than what they seem.

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