TAMPA, Fla. — There was emotional testimony in a Hillsborough courtroom on day 2 of the death penalty sentencing hearing for Steven Lorenzo.
Lorenzo has confessed to killing two people in 2003 – Jason Galehouse and Michael Wachholtz.
Lorenzo waived his right to a jury trial and is defending himself.
He’s asked the court to sentence him to death, and on Tuesday, the mothers of the two victims, Galehouse and Wachholtz, testified that’s what they want too.
“I want that man to get the death penalty and nothing less. Period,” Pam Williams, Jason Galehouse’s mother, said.
In 2003, Galehouse and Wachholtz were victims of a planned drugging, torture, sexual assault and murder. Steven Lorenzo has already pleaded guilty. His co-defendant, Scott Schweikert, is already spending life in prison for his role in the murders.
Lorenzo provided the court with a 147-page document detailing the crimes. He’s also taken the unusual step of defending himself.
“He should no longer breathe. My son doesn’t. So why should he?” Ruth Wachholtz said. “He is lower than a snake. That crawls on the ground. And if found, it should get its head chopped off.”
“What the hell is wrong with you?” Williams asked, staring at Lorenzo. “You are a sick person and I wish that God, somebody, would cut you up in pieces because that’s what you deserve,” she said.
The judge has already heard from Lorenzo’s co-defendant and listened on Tuesday to lawyers re-counting testimony from other alleged victims who’d survived similar encounters with Lorenzo.
The court also allowed the confessed killer one more opportunity to add anything to his defense.
“I’m not going to testify, there’s no need to,” Lorenzo replied.
Instead, it was testimony from the victims’ mothers that seemed to turn the clock back. After waiting nearly two decades, they had harsh words for the man who’d killed their sons.
“You’re a scumbag. That’s exactly what you are,” Williams said. “You’re dirt underneath my fingernails. And you do not deserve to be living today, and even tomorrow. You should be dead already.”
“For 20 years he has breathed and lived, and Michael hasn’t,” Wachholtz added. “At taxpayers’ expense, no less. It’s time to end this.”
Following testimony, the court gave both sides a chance to make closing arguments. Without a jury, Judge Christopher Sabella said he would decide whether Lorenzo should live or die for his confessed crimes.
A hearing was scheduled for Feb. 20, with sentencing set for Feb. 24.