By: Jada Williams
TAMPA, Fla. (WFTS) — On Friday, Hillsborough County Judge Christopher Sabella has sentenced confessed killer Steven Lorenzo to death by lethal injection for two murders he committed in 2003.
Last December, Lorenzo pleaded guilty to drugging, torturing, raping, murdering, and dismembering Jason Galehouse and Michael Wachholtz.
Previously in the sentencing trial, Lorenzo asked the judge for the death penalty.
“I’m 64 years old. I could be on death row for 10, 15 years. The comforts that they get on the death row are a lot more comfortable than it is in the federal system. You get your own private cell, you get your own tv, you get your own computer, you get all this stuff,” Lorenzo said.
Lorenzo stopped the judge before he announced the sentence to make a last minute statement.
“I’m seeking the death penalty. It’s in my best interest basically, because it’s a comfort. I’ll be living my life more comfortable than it would in the federal system. Living on death row, believe it or not, and and of course, that may sound selfish, but I’ve lived in a private cell for the last five years and I’m going to have a private cell on death row,” he said.
Lorenzo also talked about reincarnation multiple times. The mention was in reference to the prosecutor’s work on the trial.
“You did a very good job of prosecuting this case. So I want to thank you for that. Because I appreciate your fairness to me. And that’s what I appreciate. In this lifetime, I’m a bad guy. You’re the good guy. Maybe the next lifetime, this role will be reversed. Who knows?” he said.
He later brought up reincarnation again, this time in reference to his desire to speed up his time on Death Row.
“I’m going to try to speed up this process. So I don’t have to wait 15 years, because I got better things to do to my time. The sooner that I get euthanized, as far as I’m concerned, the faster I can, the sooner I can get myself the new body and come back again, a fresh body. That’s how I look at it, because that’s how it is. That’s how spirituality work. We’re eternal beings,” he said.
But in court, Judge Sabella made it clear that Lorenzo’s desires didn’t matter.
“I don’t know if what you say is, perhaps some form of reverse psychology, nor do I care. I will not consider what you want in issuing my sentence,” Judge Sabella said.
Judge Sabella instead recalled powerful testimony from the penalty phase earlier this month.
“On February 7, two very strong young ladies testified Mrs. Ruth Waccholtz, the mother of Michael Waccholtz and Mrs. Pam Williams, the mother of Jason Galehouse,” he said. “The thing that was consistent in their testimony was that they have been waiting 20 years for Justice. Today, that long wait ends. In the words of Mrs. Pam Williams, ‘From one Italian to another, Ti condonno amorte.’ That translates to ‘I sentence you, Mr. Lorenzo to death.’ That is the punishment that you deserve for these horrific crimes,” he said.
Nearly 20 years ago, on back-to-back nights, Jason Galehouse and Michael Wachholtz disappeared from a Tampa nightclub.
Scott Schweikert testified during the penalty phase trial about his involvement in the two disappearances.
“We already determined we worked well together using another individual. We wanted to see if we could go to the next step, which would be murder,” he testified.
Scweikert took a plea deal in 2016. Lorenzo pleaded guilty in December but said Schweikert’s account is wrong.
This story was originally published Feb. 24 by WFTS in Tampa Bay, an E.W. Scripps Company.