A Miami gym rat sent to Death Row for the gruesome dismemberment murder of a Golden Beach couple in 1995 is getting a new sentencing hearing.
Florida’s high court this week tossed out the death sentence for Noel Doorbal, one of the notorious Sun Gym crew whose story was made into the movie “Pain & Gain.”
The decision was not a surprise. Most Florida Death Row inmates from the past two decades are getting new sentencing hearings because of recent changes to the death-penalty law.
The U.S. Supreme Court in 2016 ruled that Florida’s death-penalty sentencing system was unconstitutional, and the state justices later ruled that many inmates slated for execution should get new sentencing hearings because juries did not vote unanimously for execution.
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Jurors voted 8-4 to send Doorbal to Death Row. He and Daniel Lugo, weightlifters who worked out at the Sun Gym in Miami Lakes, have been on Death Row since they were convicted and sentenced in 1998. Lugo, 54, is also likely to get a new sentencing hearing.
Doorbal, 45, remains convicted of the murders. If Miami-Dade prosecutors decide to again seek the death penalty, a new jury will be selected to hear evidence and decide whether execution is the proper punishment.
Hoping to get some of his fortune, the two men kidnapped Frank Griga, 33, a Hungarian immigrant who had earned his fortune in the 900-phone sex business, and his girlfriend, Krisztina Furton. Inside Doorbal’s apartment, the kidnapping went horribly awry. Griga fought back and was beaten to death. Furton was fatally drugged with horse tranquilizers.
The bodies were whisked away to a warehouse, where they were dismembered. Eventually, their body parts were found in drums and buckets discarded along rural highways in Miami-Dade and Broward counties.
The story was made into 2014’s “Pain & Gain,” starring Mark Wahlberg as Lugo, Anthony Mackie as Doorbal and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as Paul Doyle, a fictional composite character based on several members of the murderous crew.
Billed as a dark comedy, the movie infuriated relatives of Griga, as well as Marc Schiller, a Miami businessman who was also kidnapped and tortured.
“I think it’s ridiculous. It’s horrible what happened to them,” Zsuzsanna Griga, the sister of Frank Griga, told the Miami Herald before the movie premiered. “I don’t want the American public to be sympathetic to the killers.”