TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Confessed killer Steven Lorenzo requested to be sentenced to death during a court hearing Monday.
The hearing marked the start of the penalty phase of the case against the notorious murder suspect.
Lorenzo is asking for the death penalty after pleading guilty to murdering and torturing two gay men in Seminole Heights. Victims Jason Galehouse and Michael Wachholtz disappeared from the same Tampa nightclub in 2003.
Tyler Butler, a friend of Galehouse, regularly attends court proceedings for the case.
“Every time we go back into the courtroom, every time something comes up with the case you just relive everything,” he said. “You think it would get easier, but it’s not.”
Monday morning, Lorenzo told the judge he wished to be sentenced to death because he is 63 years old and would likely spend 10 to 15 years on death row, which he believes will have better conditions than federal prison.
By his logic, he would likely be dead ion 15 years anyway due to his advanced age.
During the penalty phase, prosecutors will present evidence to a judge. Ultimately a judge will decide Lorenzo’s sentence.
Butler plans to attend the hearing.
“I’d like to hear from his own voice what he did, his involvement and his own actions,” he said.
According to Butler, he and Galehouse’s mother are hoping for the death penalty.
Both are skeptical about whether the process will move forward smoothly.
“I’d love to say, yes, it’s going to happen, it’s finally happening,” Butler said. “It’s really hard to be positive after 19 years of this disturbing case. I mean, 19 years, it’s hard to have faith.”
Lorenzo is already serving a sentence federal sentence for drug-related charges.