TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A Hillsborough County judge sentenced Steven Lorenzo, 64, to death on Friday.
In 2003, two young men, Jason Galehouse and Michael Wachholtz, disappeared after meeting Lorenzo at a Tampa nightclub. Their deaths were discovered days later, sending shockwaves of fear through the city’s gay community.
Evidence shows Lorenzo kidnapped, drugged, sexually tortured the men with the help of his roommate, Scott Schweicker. Schweicker told the court that they cut up Galehouse’s body, stuffed the parts into trash bags, then ditched the remains in garbage bins around the city.
Lorenzo was convicted on federal drug charges in 2005 and is currently serving a 200-year federal sentence. He maintained his innocence until late last year, when he submitted a guilty plea and admitted to the killings. However, he claims he was only one of several men that participated in the murders.
Lorenzo, who represented himself in the case, has requested a jury sentence him to death. The victims’ families appear to agree.
“I want that man to get the death penalty and nothing less, period,” Galehouse’s mother, Pam Williams, said when she took the witness stand earlier this month, confronting Lorenzo for the first time after nearly two decades. “I don’t have a grave. I don’t have a tombstone. All I’ve got is ground-up hamburger meat in the ground because of you.”
The confessed killer asked to be sentenced to death because death row at Florida State Prison is “a lot more comfortable” than federal prison.
“You get your own private cell, you get your own TV, you get your computer, you get all this stuff,” Lorenzo said. The 64-year-old insisted he will die in prison anyway and wants to “go out on (his) own terms.”
Appearing before a judge on Friday, Lorenzo reiterated his request for the death penalty. He said he believes in reincarnation and he will come back as a better person in his next life. He offered no apologies to the friends or family of his victims
There are nearly 300 people on death row in Florida, according to the Department of Corrections, meaning an inmate could sit on death row for decades. On Thursday, the state executed its first inmate in four years, Donald Dillbeck, who had on death row since 1991.
Laws surrounding the death penalty in Florida have come into question recently, with Gov. Ron DeSantis proposing legislation to change the requirements for a death sentence earlier this month.