By Terrence McCoy
By Scott Fishman
By Deirdra Funcheon
By Allie Conti
By New Times Staff
By Ryan Pfeffer
By Deirdra Funcheon
By Kyle Swenson
Real-life role: The locale where Lugo, Doorbal, and their cohorts pumped iron
Sun Gym opened in January 1987 as the spot where professional bodybuilders competing in Miami came to bulk up. Owned by Miami accountant and former Mr. United Kingdom John Mese, Sun Gym was not the type of place where dudes went to pick up honeys. Located in a plain tan warehouse with no AC, Sun Gym was for true muscleheads only. Mese hired Lugo and Doorbal to run the place and train customers, and Lugo came up with his plans to knock over Schiller and Griga between scarfing down power bars, juicing up with steroids, and flexing weights inside.
Current status: Perfume wholesale warehouse
The physique palace shuttered its doors in August 1995 following Mese's arrest on kidnapping, money-laundering, and attempted-murder charges. Du Bois' deft sleuthing showed that Mese had been in on the plot to snatch and kill Schiller. He was convicted and sentenced to 56 years and died from a stroke in prison in 2004.
Today, dark tint covers the glass door that used to be the entrance to Sun Gym. There are no signs indicating what type of business now resides inside. After a reporter rings the doorbell, a young brunet with fair skin opens the door. She declines to provide her name but explains that the space is now occupied by a perfume wholesale company called Oni Essence. "We've been here for two, three years," she says. "The owners are out of town for three weeks, so I can't really comment."
Place: Delgado's Hialeah warehouse, 2248 W. 77th St., Hialeah
Depicted by: Studio set
Key description: "Pulling off the street to the warehouse, he couldn't believe his eyes: There was Lugo, standing over a burning barrel. He had carried outside a metal drum, placed the iron grate on top, tossed on hands, feet, and various skull portions, splashed some gasoline around, and started a fire. Occasionally he bent down and torched the remains with a jet of propane flames. He might as well have been at a back-yard barbecue!"
Real-life role: Site where Schiller was tortured and the Hungarian couple was quartered with chainsaws
After using Delgado's warehouse as a torture den for Schiller, the Sun Gym Gang turned the place into a scene out of Rob Zombie's darkest nightmares after murdering Griga and Furton. On May 26, 1995, Doorbal donned sweatpants, rubber boots, leather gloves, and clear goggles. He fired up an electric chainsaw and sliced off the hands, feet, and heads, then plucked their eyeballs and teeth, all while a river of gore splattered the floors.
Current status: Home of Nuuva Cookies & Cakes
Augustin Ricart walks through a freezer, showing off rows of deliciously sinful chocolate-mousse cakes. A chubby Argentine with short, receding black hair, Ricart stops in front of an oven. "This is where we burn the bodies," he jokes.
At first, he doesn't believe what once happened in his building. Eighteen years ago, a reporter tells him, the Sun Gym gang beat, pistol-whipped, Tasered, burned, and starved Schiller, one of his fellow countrymen, into submission in this same space. "You're messing with me, right?" Ricart laughs. "You can't be serious."
Ricart's three bakers, a trio of Cuban-American men in their 20s with hard physiques bulging underneath their T-shirts, gather closer to listen to the rest of the tale.
An investor who specializes in turning around small businesses, Ricart bought the bakery eight months ago from a Colombian woman who was in financial trouble. "Had I known what happened in here, I don't think I would have bought it," Ricart says. "I don't like places with bad energy."
"Coño," one of the bakers barks. "We're gonna need to do a spiritual cleansing in here."