Authorities say Steven Lorenzo of Florida drugged, sexually assaulted, and tortured two gay men before killing them. After years of fighting the charges, Lorenzo now says he wants to plead guilty and accept the death penalty.
In December 2003, Lorenzo allegedly brought Jason Galehouse and Michael Wachholtz back to his Seminole Heights home on back-to-back nights. He was already convicted of giving them — and other men — GHB, known as a date-rape drug, back in 2005, along with another man, Scott Schweickert.
Lorenzo, 63, handwrote a 16-page paper from prison explaining that he wanted to withdraw his not-guilty pleas because he didn’t believe he’d be found not guilty at trial, the Tampa Bay Times reports. In the document, he requests a judge sentence him to death and also waives his right to appeal.
“Regardless of whether or not there would have been a trial … the end results will prove to be identical. Simply because the defendant has no intention of taking the witness stand under oath or at a trial. Therefore the state’s case against the defendant would have gone unchallenged anyway,” he wrote, according to the paper.
Last Friday, he reaffirmed his decision.
“I knew what I wanted to do with this case right from the beginning,” Lorenzo told Hillsborough Circuit Judge Christopher Sabella.
The suspected murderer said he’d just wanted to look over all the evidence before doing so. The Times reports Sabella asked Lorenzo questions to confirm Lorenzo knew what he was doing.
“You realize that there are only two possible sentences to your plea?” Sabella asked. “Life or execution at the hands of the Department of Corrections?”
Lorenzo responded, “Exactly.”
He added that facing a death sentence “doesn’t bother” him after now effectively serving a life sentence over the 2005 convictions. The judge explained to Lorenzo that he couldn’t simply sentence him to death and that there must be more hearings to make that decision.
The paper reports that Lorenzo tried to plead no contest last year to the murder charges if he could be granted a life sentence. In his request, he called the death penalty “childish.”
His request was rejected.
Prosecutors say they’re fine with the new decision.
Lorenzo and Schweickert allegedly fantasized about drugging and murdering men in online chats. Schweickert admitted in 2016 to taking Galehouse and Wachholtz back to Lorenzo’s home. After sexually torturing and killing them, he said they used an electric saw to dismember Galehouse’s body and left his body parts in garbage cans around the Tampa area. They left Wachholtz’s body in his Jeep at an apartment complex. Schweickert pleaded guilty and agreed to testify against Lorenzo.
Galehouse’s mother, Pam Williams, said she didn’t trust Lorenzo and his new move. “He’s pulled so many things. I just don’t trust him. So we will see,” she said.
Others also voiced suspicion at Lorenzo’s actions.
Carrie West, the president of Tampa Pride, told the Times, “It’s not going to be an ending to this. There’s a surprise happening.”
“Nineteen years,” Tyler Butler, a close friend of Galehouse said. “Why all of a sudden now?”
This is America darn it…
WE WILL HAVE NO COMPETENT JUDICIAL SYSTEM THAT SERVES AS A DETERRENT TO COMMITTING ANY CRIME!!!!
Sure, Let’s do it, but with Lex Talionis—death by torture. Bring back the Catherine Wheel, or perhaps stake and burn him, and maybe death by a thousand cuts. People will think twice before committing heinous acts, if the know the consequences are equally as gruesome as the crimes they commit.