Gilberto Lopez: Where is Nick De Noia’s Shooter Now?

Gilberto "Louie" Lopez

With ‘Welcome to Chippendales‘ exploring the initial rise and fall of the titular revue owing to none other than its founder Steve Banerjee, we get a true insight into the dark side of human nature. After all, there were drugs, greed, insecurities, money, power, and sex nearly every step of the way, eventually resulting in the horrific homicide of creative director-choreographer Nick De Noia. Yet for now, if you just wish to learn more about the actual triggerman behind this complex April 7, 1987, offense — Gilberto Rivera Lopez (or simply Louie) — we’ve got the essential details for you.

Who is Gilberto Lopez?

Gilberto can reportedly only be described as a small, skinny conman whose extensive criminal record ensured he had several aliases under his belt by the time the mid-late 1980s rolled around. These included Andy Rivera, Louis Lopez, Louie Rivera, Malacatta, or Malakadda, along with at least a dozen others, all of which kind of fit his scrawny appearance thanks to his heroin addiction. As per reports, this $300-a-day habit and thus indirect connections to the Mexican Mafia is how he’d initially come across Steve’s right-hand man for unlawful ventures, Augustine “Ray” Colon.

Ray Colon

It turns out Ray had actually enlisted Gilberto/Louie’s aid on behalf of Steve to burn down a Chippendales competitor near December 1984 before seeking him out again right in early April 1987. The former ostensibly believed the career outlaw would do anything for some extra cash to support his lifestyle, and he himself was desperate to find somebody who’d carry out his boss’ order. That’s because the employee-turned-abettor didn’t want to commit the hit against Nick De Noia at first, but then he was offered $25,000, forgiven $7,000 in debt, as well as threatened with harm.

According to the 2014 book ‘Deadly Dance: The Chippendales Murders,’ Ray’s hunch was accurate as Gilberto definitely grew interested in the job once he learned he’d get paid for his services. Though it’s imperative to note the addict believed the order was Mob-related rather than a business association gone wrong, especially since Ray claimed it came from someone “going crazy.” Therefore, for $25,000, the then-mid-30-year-old traveled from California to New York within two days alongside the latter, walked straight into Nick’s Manhattan office at 3 pm, and shot him to death.

Where is Gilberto Lopez Now?

Although the FBI began looking into Nick’s murder relatively quickly, it wasn’t until 1992 that they learned of Gilberto’s key involvement following Ray’s apprehension and subsequent cooperation. That’s when they urged the accomplice to resume contact with the triggerman, only to learn he was already in a California prison on an unrelated matter, making tapping their conversations easy. Every bit of incriminating information revealed by the former conman was hence recorded, which soon led to detectives having enough evidence to charge him in connection to the brutal murder.

Gilberto “Louie” Lopez

Gilberto was actually set to be released from behind state bars in January 1993, yet he was immediately taken into custody by immigration officials, that is, until he confessed everything in 1994. He actually provided a verbal as well as a written statement to investigators, leading to him getting charged with second-degree murder and first-degree possession of a firearm in the Supreme Court.

However, by the time Gilberto’s trial concluded in the summer of 1996, the latter count was essentially dismissed to ensure the jury would just focus on the most significant facts presented. They did, and in the end, despite his testimony that he’d merely agreed “to take the fall” for an offense he didn’t commit in exchange for a payment of $250,000, he was convicted of second-degree murder.

Gilberto was thus sentenced to 25 years in federal prison — an overall ruling he appealed several times to no avail, indicating he was probably released only upon serving his required time in full. Unfortunately, though, because he has preferred to stay well away from the limelight since then, his current whereabouts are unclear.

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