You are listening to: The Evidence Locker.
Our cases have been researched using open source and archive materials. It deals with true crimes and real people. Each episode is produced with the utmost respect to the victims, their families and loved ones.
Today’s show is the second of a two-part case. We recommend you listen to our episode “USA – Sun Gym Gang (Part 1)” before listening to Part 2.
There was no more use for Marc Schiller. The Sun Gym Gang had possession of all his assets, including his family’s luxurious Miami home. The last act of the sordid play had begun.
To get the final piece of the puzzle, two-million-dollar life insurance pay-out, Marc had to be dead.
After more than a month in captivity, suffering daily torture and being depraved of food and water, Marc realised the time had come for him to die. One of his captors man-handled him out of the cardboard box, that had been his bed, toilet and home for the past four weeks. He was shoved into a shower and ordered to clean up.
In the preceding days his kidnappers forced him to drink large amounts of alcohol. This made Marc retch, as he was a teetotaller, he hadn’t touched alcohol since college. In a drunken stupor, they would force him into his car, go for a drive and then return to the warehouse and force him back to his box. Marc couldn’t quite understand why they were doing this, but the plan was about to be revealed… They forced him to drink a potent concoction of tequila, vodka, chocolate liqueur and sleeping tablets.
In the early morning hours of December 15th, the gang then put him into the passenger seat of his own car, as they have practised in the days before. Schiller was unconscious within a minute. As Adrian Doorbal and Carl Weekes followed in another car, as Danny Lugo drove Marc’s.
It was late and quiet when they arrived at a pre-determined spot, about a mile from Miami Dade Police Station. With Schiller in the passenger seat, Danny Lugo stepped on the gas and drove the Marc’s car into utility pole, staging a motor vehicle accident.
With help from Adrian, Danny then moved Marc’s comatose body across to the driver’s seat. It was perfect, Marc reeked of booze. It would look like he was a drunken driver who had lost control of his vehicle and crashed his car.
To make sure Marc wouldn’t walk away alive, they doused his body and the interior of his car with gas, placed a propane tank in the boot and lit it on fire. They ran away to the safety of the other car, where Carl Weekes was waiting. The three sat and watched excitedly as flames bulged out of Marc Schiller’s car.
Marc Schiller’s SUV was engulfed in flames while Danny Lugo, Adrian Doorbal and Carl Weekes watched in delight. It was the masterpiece of their extortion plan.
Extraordinarily, however, Marc was revived by the flames and sub-consciously managed to stumble out of the car. The gang could not believe their eyes. Adrian shouted:
“Run him over. Run him over.”
Carl stepped on the accelerator and aimed straight at Marc who was stumbling away from the burning vehicle. The van missed Marc with the first go. Carl aimed again and this time, he hit Marc and drove over him. Carl was ready to get out of there, but Danny and Adrian shouted:
“No! No! Go back! Run him over again! Run him over again!”
The van reversed and doubled back over Marc. That should have finished the job. Surely he had to be dead… When the three men in the van the headlights of an approaching vehicle they sped off.
Amazingly, Marc Schiller was still alive. The driver of the car that scared the gang away, called an ambulance that was on the scene within minutes.
The next day, Marc woke up in the emergency rooms of Jackson Memorial Hospital, hadly able to move. His pelvis was shattered, his bladder burst and surgeons had removed his spleen. He lost about 40 pounds (or 18 kilograms) during his time in captivity and appeared meek and frail.
He struggled to get the message through to hospital staff that he had been kidnapped. They were convinced that he was a drunk driver who was responsible for his own injuries, end of story. Because of the cocktail the gang had forced him to drink, first responders noted the undeniable stench of alcohol on him.
Marc managed to call his lawyer, Gene Rosen from his hospital bed and told him about his kidnapping. He said that he was scared that Danny and the gang would come to the hospital and finish the job.
Gene Rosen was blown away by Marc’s story but knew that this wasn't something his client would make up. Marc also asked Gene to call his sister, Michelle, in New York and tell her what had happened to him. Reacting to the call, Marc’s siblings, Michelle and Alex came to Miami as soon as they could to support their brother and try to make sense of his strange story.
On Marc’s instruction, his siblings called credit card companies to put a stop to the Sun Gym gang’s infiltration into his finances. He managed to save a balance of $40,000, but completely blocking the account could alert Danny Lugo that Marc was still alive, so he was reluctant to do so.
Gene Rosen realised that immediate action to protect Marc was essential. In the past, he had used the services of a private investigator, Ed Du Bois (who was a former FBI agent), and felt that he was the right man to help his client.
Ed felt that Marc’s concerns were spot-on, but having a security guard to watch over him was not the answer. And if Danny and the gang wanted to make sure he was dead, a guard at the door wouldn’t stop them – they would probably kill him too. Besides, 24-hour protection came at a steep price. Ed Du Bois advised Marc to leave Miami as soon as possible.
With Marc’s brother and sister by his side, the three siblings came up with a plan. They understood the urgency and booked Marc on a six-thousand-dollar air ambulance flight to New York.
Meanwhile, the guys from the Sun Gym scoured the newspapers to read about Marc’s so-called ‘accident’ – the final confirmation that they could go and cash in the life insurance they had taken out on his life. But there was nothing about an accident an any newspaper. Eventually, they realized that he must still be alive.
It didn’t take them long to track him down. Disguised as hospital staff, Danny Lugo, Adrian Doorbal and Carl Weekes arrived and at the Jackson Memorial hospital and made their way through the halls, searching every ward, desperately looking for Marc Schiller. If they found him, the plan was for Adrian to suffocate Marc with a pillow while the others created a diversion by starting a fight.
The gang arrived at the hospital at 10am. Fortunately, Marc’s flight left for New York at 08am. They had just missed him.
Marc spent another week at Staten Island University Hospital. In his time there, the doctors approached him to discuss his condition. Marc was completely in the dark. The doctors informed him that the hospital in Miami had contacted them and told them that he was HIV positive. He couldn’t believe it. Did Danny Lugo and his men inject him with something while he was unconscious? Nothing was impossible. Marc was in shock and demanded they tested him again.
With the dark cloud of the HIV-test results hanging over his head, Marc was released from the hospital on Christmas Eve. He spent Christmas at his sister’s home in Long Island. His wife Diana and their children joined him in New York and it was an emotional reunion. Diana was relieved to see him and was as shocked as her husband was that Jorge Delgado had betrayed him. What could have possessed him to hate Marc so much after their years of close friendship?
After an agonising wait of five weeks, Schiller learnt that he was HIV negative after all.
Marc was on the mend and ready for revenge. He tasked Miami PI, Ed Du Bois with investigating Danny Lugo’s gang. He knew Danny and Jorge were running the show, but there were more people involved too. Ed started his investigation by following the money. He saw that all the documents signing over Schiller’s assets were notarised by Sun Gym owner, John Mese.
Ed actually knew John, as they had been at high school together. Ed had also done some investigative work for John in the past. He found it hard to believe that John could be a criminal mastermind. He was a decent, hard-working guy, not a scheming brute. Ed had to speak to John directly to find out why he notarised all the documents that had bled Marc Schiller’s estate dry.
When they met in February of 1995, John assured Ed that there had to be a misunderstanding. He remembered notarising the documents, but a Latin man with ID identifying him as Marcello Schiller came with Daniel Lugo on the day. Ed presented a photo of Marc Schiller and asked John if he could confirm that that was the man with Lugo. John shrugged it off:
“Probably. You know all those Latino’s look alike.”
Ed Du Bois wasn’t about to give up. He confronted him with the deeds to Schiller’s house that was signed over to D&J International. Diana Schiller left the country on the 18th of November, yet the contract was signed on the 23rd and 24th of November. There was no way that Diana signed this for real. Marc Schiller’s shrewd plan to entrap the gang was now in front of John, in black and white.
John Mese was adamant it was all a misunderstanding and that Danny Lugo and Jorge Delgado would straighten it out. They planned to meet at John’s Miami Lakes office, near the Sun Gym.
When Ed Du Bois and his bodyguard arrived for the meeting John, Danny and Jorge were not there. Ed waited in an unused office and noticed an ashtray full of cigarette stubs and two champagne flutes with some drink residue. It looked like someone was in that office the night before. Ed and his bodyguard had a look around and noticed some documents in the rubbish bin. They hit pay-dirt: in the trash were copies of documents with Marc Schiller’s name on it. Copies of cheques and transfers: proof that the gang paid off their accomplices. There was even a copy of a cheque Danny Lugo had paid for his court-ordered restitution relating to his fraud crimes in the early 1990’s.
The documents tied John Mese, Danny Lugo, Adrian Doorbal and Jorge Delgado to Marc Schiller, confirming Marc’s story. Someone must have thrown it away the night before, thinking the cleaners would have emptied it before their meeting with Ed.
Ed stuffed the documents in his jacket pockets and pants, hoping no one would realise what he had found.
Jorge Delgado finally arrived without Danny Lugo. He promised Ed that the gang would give all assets back to Marc Schiller. On one condition, though: Marc would have to sign a contract, stating that he would never tell the story of what had happened to him, not to anyone, especially not to police. Realising that the gang had no way to legally enforce Marc’s silence, he signed the contract.
After four months, Marc had not received anything from the gang. In fact, in this time, they cleared out Marc’s house. Renting a U-Haul, they loaded up everything they could: a 50-inch TV, Persian rugs, paintings the Jacuzzi – even the Schiller family albums.
By the time Marc’s home was in his name again, it was an empty shell, there was nothing left inside. Danny Lugo and his thugs had divided the loot, moved it into their apartments and stored excess items in Jorge Delgado’s warehouse, the same warehouse where Marc was kept and tortured.
The time for Marc Schiller to report the gang to police, was way overdue. But investigators were sceptical: why did Marc wait so long to report the kidnapping? They also found the story very hard to believe – surely Marc was hiding something. A wealthy Latino man from South America kidnapped and extorted, his family exiled to Colombia… It sounded like a drug-related crime to them.
Realising that police didn’t believe him, Marc Schiller decided to leave the U.S.A. and go to Colombia to be with his family and focus on rebuilding his life instead of seeking vengeance against the Sun Gym gang.
Throughout the first couple of months of 1995, the gang lived their luxurious lives, spending Marc Schiller’s money, driving his cars and wearing his jewellery.
The gang frequented a strip club in Miami, called Solid Gold. Danny Lugo started a relationship with ex-Penthouse model turned stripper, Sabina Petrescu. Petrescu was runner-up Miss Romania in 1990 and snuck into America via Mexico inside the trunk of a car.
Sabina was beautiful but very gullible. Before long, the two had a full-blown love affair – all this while Danny was still married to Lucretia Goodridge, Adrian Doorbal’s cousin. Lucretia was pregnant with Danny’s second child at this time.
But Danny became obsessed with Sabina. He hated to share her with the regular crowd at Solid Gold and asked her to quit her job and put her up in an upmarket apartment on Main Street in Miami Lakes. He also gave her Diana Schiller’s BMW to drive around town. Sabina couldn’t believe her luck – she loved being Danny’s lover and spending his – well, Marc Schiller’s – money.
Sabina was vaguely suspicious of Danny’s strange behaviour and frequent trips to the Bahamas. He needed to keep her quiet, so he confided in her that he was actually a CIA agent. He had stories of sting operations-gone-wrong and Sabina fell for it. She found the notion of dating an international man of mystery sexy and exciting. When Danny paged her, the code ‘007’ would appear on her beeper.
Danny and his gang weren’t used to the high-rolling lifestyle and they were quickly burning through Marc Schiller’s money. They needed more – it was time to find their next benefactor.
One night, Adrian Doorbal visited his stripper girlfriend Beatriz Weiland’s home and saw a photo of her and Frank Griga. Beatriz told him that Frank was her ex-boyfriend and that he was loaded. When Adrian saw a photo of Frank standing next to his $250,000 yellow Lamborghini Diablo, he knew he had found the gang’s next victim.
Frank Griga, born to a Hungarian diplomat in Berlin, came to New York in the mid-1980's when he was 21-years old. He arrived with ten dollars in his pocket and was determined to make it big in his adoptive country. He started by working at a car workshop, doing oil changes, cleaning cars and any other tasks that needed doing at the service station.
In 1988 he moved to Miami where he worked as a car salesman, selling luxury cars at Prestige Imports in North Miami Beach. He was still on the sidelines, seeing how the other half lived.
Then lady luck smiled on Frank Griga. He joined a group of investors who saw opportunity in pay-per-minute phone lines. And the money came rolling in. Thanks to phone sex lines like 976-TITS, 9-R-O-M-A-N-C-E and 1-800-GET-WILD, at the age of 26, Frank started to make big money.
He loved to splurge on expensive toys. In the garage of his 700,000-dollar waterfront mansion in Golden Beach were sports cars that some people only ever dream of driving: a rare royal blue Vector, a red Dodge Viper, a blue Dodge Stealth and his beloved yellow Lamborghini Diablo. He also owned a yacht, aptly named Foreplay, seeing as the source of his riches was sex lines.
But Frank Griga’s most prized possession was his live-in 23-year old Hungarian girlfriend, Krisztina Furton. Krisztina was a beautiful girl who loved animals, swimming and had dreams of being a professional diver. But, as a migrant, the quickest way to make good money without a social security number was to take a job as an exotic dancer. She met Frank at a club where she was working.
Like Frank, Krisztina remained in close contact with her family in Hungary. Frank spoke with his sister, Zsuzsanna Griga in Budapest, on a daily basis and sent money to support her and his mother. When Krisztina’s family visited them in Miami, Frank paid for their flights and all other expenses. He was kind and generous and enjoyed spending time with friends and family.
Adrian Doorbal became obsessed with Frank after he saw that picture of the yellow Lamborghini. The Sun Gym gang had their new target and stalked him as they were concocting their next kidnapping and extortion plan.
Adrian kept pestering his girlfriend to introduce him to Frank Griga. Beatriz set up a meeting between Adrian and her ex-husband, Attila Weiland, who moved in the same circles as Frank. Adrian told Attila about a proposed business deal and that he wanted to approach Frank. He needed Attila Weiland to make an introduction. Attila saw dollar signs and agreed.
In May, Krisztina Furton arranged a surprise birthday party for Frank at his Golden Beach mansion. One of the guests was Attila Weiland. As soon as he got a word alone with Frank he told him about some guys who would like to pitch a business idea to him and arranged to bring them around to Frank’s house the next day.
Danny Lugo and Adrian Doorbal donned their best clothes for their meeting with Frank. They wore expensive suits and draped themselves in bling – in fact, Adrian was wearing Marc Schiller’s Presidential Rolex. Frank remarked to Attila Weiland that these guys knew how to make an impression. Things kicked off well.
Frank was eager to hear more about their business idea. Danny did most of the talking, presenting him with official pie charts and statistics – the deal was actually legit. But there was no deal. The gang wanted to repeat what they had done with Marc Schiller and used the business pitch to scope out Frank’s house and gain his trust.
When they left Frank’s house, Danny and Adrian were on cloud nine. The meeting could not have gone better. Frank took the bait and agreed to meet them again the following day. The plan was to abduct Frank and his girlfriend Krisztina then.
Danny recruited his own girlfriend, Sabina Petrescu, to be a part of the abduction. He made her believe that Frank was a tax offender and that Danny – as a CIA agent – had instructions to bring Frank in. Sabina loved being part of this covert mission and went along with whatever Danny asked her to do.
Before meeting with Danny and Adrian again, Frank told his sister that he had a bad feeling about the bodybuilding businessmen, but agreed to go out to dinner with the pair one last time before he walked away from the deal.
Thursday the 25th of May 1995 was the day before Memorial Day weekend and Frank and Krisztina were supposed to go on a trip to the Bahamas the following day. Frank’s neighbour and a friend joined the couple and the burly businessmen at Frank’s house for drinks before dinner that night. They said their goodbyes as Frank and Krisztina left in his yellow Lamborghini to follow Danny and Adrian in their rented Mercedes. This was the last time anyone would see the Hungarian couple alive.
As the group arrived for their dinner at Shula’s Steakhouse in Miami Lakes, the gang acted surprised that the restaurant was closed. In fact, they knew that this would be the case. It was part of the ploy to lure Frank and Krisztina to Adrian’s apartment, which was conveniently situated across the road.
Danny’s army of delinquents was ready for action. The plan was to drug their victims with horse tranquiliser. This would incapacitate them and make it easier to move them to a warehouse in the cover of night where they would follow the same procedure as they did with Marc Schiller. Their assassins kit consisted of a Taser gun, handcuffs, a firearm, a hatchet, a knife, duct tape and – in true style – a receipt proving that Jorge Delgado purchased the items at Home Depot.
Frank and Krisztina did not see through the ruse and went along to Adrian’s apartment. Once inside, Adrian took Frank to the bedroom to “discuss the deal”, but in the scuffle to tranquilise him, he held Frank in a choke hold and accidentally killed him.
Krisztina overheard the commotion in the next room and knew they had harmed Frank. She started screaming, fearing for her own safety. Danny grabbed her and injected her with the tranquiliser. She was unconscious in a matter of seconds.
They were adamant to extract information from Krisztina that could give them access to Frank’s millions. Adrian dragged Frank’s body to the bathroom and loaded him into the bath.
Danny and Adrian waited all night, wondering what to do next.
Krisztina only came to the next morning and was confused about where she was. She asked the men who were watching over her about Frank and they told her that he was OK. But they needed the security code for the keypad at Frank’s home. Krisztina, who spoke broken English in the best of circumstance, mumbled a code, which Danny wrote down eagerly.
When Krisztina became agitated and demanded to know what was going on and asked where Frank was, Adrian injected her with another dose of tranquiliser to keep her subdued.
Danny went to Frank’s home in Golden Beach, hopeful that he would be able to get inside and fill his pockets with cash.
Adrian and Jorge stayed behind to keep watch over Frank’s body and a slumbering Krisztina. To kill time while they waited for Danny to return, the men played video games on Marc Schiller’s 55-inch TV.
At Frank’s house, Danny got stuck with the code. He called Adrian and said he had to get the correct code from Krisztina. When Adrian tried to wake her up, he realized that she had also died. Adrian told Danny on the phone:
“Oh Danny, man… The bitch is cold.”
Adrian had to admit that he had given Krisztina a third shot of horse tranquiliser. The overdose killed her. Later, it was discovered that Krisztina had so much tranquiliser in her system, it would have been enough to kill four, 1000-pound (or 450 kilogram) horses.
Danny returned and the three men were stumped. In Adrian’s apartment were two dead bodies and they had no money to show for it. The plan had backfired badly.
Danny and Jorge went home and left Adrian to spend the night alone in his apartment with two corpses and the air-conditioning turned on at full blast. The next morning Jorge showed up at the apartment with a U-Haul truck. It was moving day, or so the neighbours thought.
The gang cut open Marc Schiller’s black leather couch and stuffed Frank Griga’s body inside it. Krisztina Furton’s body was shoved into a moving box. They loaded the couch, box and some other boxes into the truck, arousing no suspicion at all. With all the loot from Marc’s place being carried in there over the preceding months, this probably looked like any other day at Adrian Doorbal’s place.
While Jorge waited at his rented warehouse in Hialeah with Frank and Krisztina’s bodies, Danny and Adrian headed to Home Depot for some DIY dismemberment-shopping. On their list were: red plastic cleaning buckets; floor fans; industrial-strength towels; plastic bags; propane gas tanks; face goggles and gardening gloves; a black iron security gate; a fire extinguisher; and an eighteen-inch petrol-powered chainsaw. They paid with Adrian’s American Express credit card.
When Frank’s housekeeper, entered the house the next morning, she heard Frank’s dog, Chopin, barking inside. This was unusual, as the dog would never be left unattended. Frank and Krisztina were supposed to be in Freeport, which meant Chopin was supposed to be at the kennels.
The housekeeper had a strong sense that something was wrong. She called for a neighbour and together they walked through the house. When the women entered the house, signs of Chopin acting out were everywhere, it was a mess. Frank and Krisztina’s passports and airline tickets were still at home, on his desk. In the lounge were two empty glasses, the exact ones the businessmen had left when the neighbour had visited two nights before.
The women realised the Hungarian couple had not been home since their dinner with the bodybuilders. They never left for the Caribbean and have vanished into thin air.
Frank’s neighbour remembered the group was heading to Shula’s Steakhouse and drove to Main Street, looking for Frank’s recognisable yellow Lamborghini. She could not see it anywhere, then something caught her eye. It was the same Mercedes that she saw Danny and Adrian in. She took down the license plate number and called Golden Beach Police Department, who sent Chief Stanley Kramer to Frank’s house to investigate.
Back at the warehouse in Hialeah, the Sun Gym gang prepared for the dismemberment of Frank and Krisztina. They constructed a slaughter table of sorts, by placing the security gate on top of two metal oil drums. Danny and Jorge kept their distance and said that they would keep watch. Adrian was happy to sign up for the grizzly job. But there was a problem. The brand new chainsaw wouldn't work.
Danny was furious. He packed the chainsaw back into its box, got into his car and drove back to Home Depot to return the faulty purchase. This time he wouldn’t make the same mistake: he swapped it for an electric chainsaw: A Remington Power Cutter.
Adrian was ready to go and fired up the new chainsaw and dismembered Krisztina’s body, while Lugo and Delgado went outside. After a couple of minutes, the buzzing of the chainsaw stopped. It turns out Krisztina’s hair became entangled in the chain, it wouldn’t work anymore. Danny didn’t want to make ANOTHER trip to Home Depot. They had to finish the job with the backup hatchet, knife and pliers.
Danny and Adrian always loved watching crime shows. Danny’s favourite show in the 1980’s was Miami Vice with Don Johnson. They knew this was the point where they had to obscure identifying body parts like fingerprints and teeth. After skinning both skulls to remove facial features, Adrian pulled the teeth out, one by one. Then they cut off the fingerprints, meticulously one by one with a six-inch knife. They had to destroy all identifying body parts and threw all of it in one of the oil drums. Danny squirted some fuel onto the flesh and bone and lit it.
All that was left to do, was to dump the metal drums. To help them, they called in another muscle man from the Sun Gym – “Little Mario” Gray. Together, they took the metal drums containing Frank and Krisztina’s body parts to the Everglades of Miami and dropped them at different spots.
With the bodies disposed of, the gang had to get rid of Frank’s yellow Lamborghini. It was not an easy car to drive and Jorje was given the keys. The gang drove in convoy and as luck would have it, Griga’s friend, Lloyd Alvarez, who had met Danny and Adrian at Frank’s house on the night of the dinner, saw them.
Lloyd knew it was Frank’s Lamborghini but he did not recognise the driver. In the car driving behind the Lamborghini, however, he saw the bodybuilding businessman he had met at Frank’s house. Lloyd immediately drove to the nearest police station and reported the incident.
The gang found a spot in a wooded area and abandoned the car with the keys still inside off the Florida Turnpike, west of Miami. When the Lamborghini was discovered by a state trooper, police intensified their search for Frank and Krisztina.
By the weekend, the couple had been missing for eight days. Police had interviewed family and friends and were alarmed when they heard Danny Lugo and Adrian Doorbal’s names. They remembered them from Marc Schiller’s case and called Ed Du Bois.
Ed, in turn called Marc in Colombia and simply said: they did it again. Miami Police also called Marc Schiller and asked him to come back to Florida to assist them with information. Marc arrived back in Miami from Colombia on Friday the 2nd of June. He co-operated in every way he could and identified Danny Lugo from a photo line-up. Police realised that Schiller’s case was like a blueprint of what must have happened to Frank and Krisztina after they disappeared.
The theory was that the Sun Gym Gang’s victims were still alive and being tortured. They searched Adrian Doorbal’s apartment and using luminol, they found blood evidence in the bedroom where he had killed Frank Griga. There was too much blood to assume Frank was still alive.
On Saturday, June 3rd, at 07am, 75 Miami-Dade police officers swooped across Miami, armed with a stack of warrants.
Jorge Delgado was arrested at his home. Linda was so distraught, she did the unthinkable and asked Marc Schiller for help. She was knocking on the wrong door. Marc would never forgive Jorge for causing this whole hurricane of violence and destruction.
Next to be arrested was Adrian Doorbal. He did not resist arrest as he was either too arrogant or too stupid to think that the police was only taking him in for questioning.
Danny Lugo had already left for Nassau in the Bahamas a week before. He left with his parents and his girlfriend, Sabina Petrescu. Police tracked him down at the Hotel Montague and escorted him back to Miami to face the music.
John Mese was tactfully escorted out by police during the National Physique Committee’s Florida Men’s State Championship at Knights Center in downtown Miami.
Police also searched the Sun Gym Gang’s homes and find numerous items belonging to Marc Schiller. His ID was brazenly kept at Danny Lugo’s house, irrefutably tying him to the crimes Marc had accused him of.
On his second night in custody, Danny Lugo was ready to talk. He revealed the location of some of the barrels containing Frank and Krisztina’s body parts. He thought he could outsmart the police and only revealed where they had dumped the torsos, not the identifying hands or heads. But police found breast implants in the female torso and were able to trace it back to Krisztina. They used the serial number on the implants and compared it with her medical records and found it matched.
The Sun Gym Gang’s trial began on February 24th, 1998 – it took six months to review the 1200 items of evidence. The gang had so many charges stacked up against them, it took an hour to read the indictment.
Marc Schiller felt empowered that he could testify against all of them in court. He read a powerful victim-impact statement, outlining the torture he endured. He told them how his family had suffered and how he would take the scars – both physical and psychological – to his grave. He felt very strongly that none of them deserved to ever live normal lives in society ever again.
In the end all of the members of the Sun Gym gang were convicted. It only took the jury 14 minutes to deliberate and return a guilty verdict for Danny Lugo on all counts and sentenced him to death. He is currently in the Union Correctional Institution in Raiford in North-central Florida. Not quite as glamorous as Golden Beach Miami.
The jury took 18 minutes to decide Adrian Doorbal’s fate: guilty on all counts and, like Danny, also a death sentence. He is currently on death row and has exhausted his appeals.
Jorje Delgado turned against the gang and became a pivotal State witness. He served only nine years in prison for his crimes against Marc Schiller, Frank Griga and Krisztina Furton, walking free in 2007. But 2008 he was convicted again for grand theft. He walked into a Kmart on Southwest 8th Street and 123rd Avenue, Miami and attempted to return over seven thousand-dollars’ worth of stolen merchandise. He pleaded guilty and received one year’s probation.
In a sombre twist of fate, Jorge Delgado wasn’t done with his vendetta against Marc Schiller. He accused Marc of fraudulent business associated with one of his own companies. As Marc Schiller left the courthouse after his testimony against the gang, he was arrested by FBI agents for Medicare fraud. An investigation proved that Marc had used his Nutrition Supplement business to rack up over 14 million dollars in false Medicare claims.
Judge Alex Ferrer (TV’s judge Alex who presided over the Sun Gym gang’s case) testified in favour of Schiller at his trial. This is a very unusual move. He felt that Schiller had been tortured worse than a prisoner of war and felt that he had paid his dues to society in a way far worse than any prison sentence could make him pay. Schiller served 46 months in jail, the minimum sentence one could get for Medicare Fraud.
John Mese was sentenced to 56 years in prison for kidnapping and extortion of Marc Schiller. In June 2002 he received a further 30-years imprisonment for Conspiracy to Commit Racketeering. He died of natural causes in prison in 2004.
For his role in Schiller’s kidnapping, Carl Weekes was sentenced to ten years in prison. Stevenson Pierre’s sentence was only seven years. Like his pay cheque, his sentence also reflected his reduced involvement in Schiller’s extortion and kidnapping.
The plot of these crimes was so outrageous, that Hollywood director, Michael Bay, adapted the story into a screenplay for a dark action comedy called Pain and Gain. In the movie Mark Wahlberg plays the smooth, smiling, scheming Danny Lugo and Dwayne Johnson’s character was inspired by a mixture of traits displayed by Carl Weekes, Big Mario and Stevenson Pierre. Marc Schiller’s character is depicted as being a real pain in the backside, very far from the soft-spoken and intelligent real-life victim.
The film was made for entertainment and not factual reporting. What it did get right was to give an insight into exactly how ridiculous and dumb the perpetrators were. Nothing that happened to Marc Schiller is a laughing matter – and even less so what happened to Frank Griga and Krisztina Furton. Marc Schiller filed a lawsuit against the producers for portraying him as a character that had something like this heinous crime coming to him. He also hit back, by writing the book Pain & Gain: The Untold True Story. This proves that truth still is, stranger than fiction.
Marc Schiller lives in Boca Raton, Florida and works as a tax resolution specialist. Police retrieved some of his valuables, like the Schiller’s honeymoon photo-album, which was found in Adrian Doorbal’s apartment. As for his money, the gang spent most of it. He had to start from scratch.
Today the Sun Gym doesn’t exist anymore – it is used as a warehouse for a perfume wholesale company. Jorge Delgado’s warehouse of torture is now, ironically, an Argentinian bakery. The owner was unaware of the history of the place at the time of purchase.
If you’d like to read more about this case, have a look at the resources used for this episode in the show notes.
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This was The Evidence Locker. Thank you for listening!
Narrated by: Noel Vinson
Researched & Produced by Two Red Romans Productions
Music: “Nordic Medieval” by Marcus Bressler