TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Steven Lorenzo, the man accused of drugging, torturing and killing two men in Tampa in 2003, wants to change his plea to guilty and be sentenced to death.
Lorenzo, 63, was convicted in 2005 of drugging and raping several men, including Jason Galehouse and Michael Waccholtz, who both vanished on separate nights in Tampa in December 2003. He is currently serving a 200-year federal prison sentence.
Prosecutors said Lorenzo and Scott Schweickert—a man he met online— drugged, tortured and raped several men they lured from bars to Lorenzo’s home in Seminole Heights.
Schweickert ultimately confessed, and told police they dismembered Galehouse’s body and disposed of the parts in trash bins throughout the city. Wachholtz’s body was found inside Lorenzo’s Jeep, which had been abandoned.
Both Schweickert and Lorenzo were convicted of federal drug crimes, but it took prosecutors years to find enough incriminating evidence to charge them with the killings. Schweickert was eventually charged in 2012. Lorenzo was indicted years later after Schweickert pleaded guilty and testified against him.
Lorenzo is representing himself in the trial, which has been repeatedly delayed due to him arguing with prosecutors and complaining about not being able to access evidence.
“I’m sick and tired of him getting his way,” Galehouse’s mother, Pam Williams told WFLA.
Last year, he offered to plead no contest to be spared the death penalty, calling such a sentence “childish” and “ridiculous.” His offer was declined.
In a handwritten letter to the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit Court of Hillsborough County, Lorenzo asked “to be adjudicated guilty on all counts and to be sentenced to death.”
He also asked the judge to waive 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.
In response to the request, prosecutors said Lorenzo had the right to plead guilty as long as his decision was made “knowingly and intelligently.”
“The only caveat is that the Defendant’s Motion to Plead Guilty may be read to infer that
the Court will sentence the Defendant to death without a sentencing hearing, essentially a foregone conclusion,” wrote Assistant State Attorney Darrell Dirks. “The State’s position is that even if the Defendant requests that the death penalty be imposed, the Court must conduct a separate penalty proceeding, with or without a jury, to evaluate alleged aggravating factors and mitigating factors, including any legally required comprehensive presentence reports by the Department of Correction and not a foregone conclusion.”
Prosecutors will likely discuss the matter at a routine hearing Friday morning.
Lorenzo is set to go on trial in January.