Two mothers faced down the man who brutally murdered their sons in 2003, both demanding the death penalty for defendant Steven Lorenzo, 64, for his vicious crimes.
“An eye for an eye,” Ruth Wachholtz, mother of Michael Wachholtz, said on Tuesday. “It would be nice if we could have old-time justice. Hanging. Heaven wants the gallows being built. Firing squad. Not blindfolded. Guillotine. Again, not blindfolded. What he did to my son before murdering him should be done to him.”
“You are the scumbag of the earth,” Pam Williams, mother of Jason Galehouse, told Lorenzo.
Prosecutors said Lorenzo preyed on men, slipping them a date-rape drug and sexually assaulting them. Lorenzo is currently serving a 200-year federal prison sentence for abusing nine men, including Galehouse and Michael Wachholtz, both 26.
Authorities said he lured the slain men, tortured them, drugged them, restrained them, and used force and asphyxiation to kill them.
“This is not consensual!” Michael Wachholtz yelled as Lorenzo was trying to hold him down, according to the prosecution. “This is not consensual!”
After spraying a rag with an aerosol meant for cleaning keyboards, the defendant held it over the young man’s face and rendered him unconscious.
Michael Wachholtz was found dead in a Jeep. Investigators never discovered Galehouse, authorities saying that Lorenzo and co-defendant Scott Schweickert dismembered the body.
“I don’t have a grave,” Williams remarked of her son’s mysterious whereabouts. “I don’t have a tombstone. All I’ve got is ground-up hamburger meat in the ground because of you, you scumbag.”
Schweickert – or as Williams called him, “that other creep” – pleaded guilty in 2016 to the murders. He testified on Monday, saying that he and Lorenzo planned and committed the murders.
Lorenzo pleaded guilty in December to murdering Wachholtz and Galehouse. Though he acknowledged guilt and even asked for the death penalty, he claimed that two other men were involved in the killings and that Schweickert was lying, but he could not recall the other men’s names.
Lorenzo, who chose to represent himself, has also been cross-examining witnesses, even claiming during cross-examination that a surviving victim went to his home for paid sex. That survivor denied that, saying he only went there because they were having a good conversation.
The defendant decided to forego a jury, so Judge Christopher Sabella will decide his fate. Speaking on his own behalf Monday, Lorenzo said he wanted the death sentence because death row would be more comfortable than federal prison.
“I’m 64 years old,” he said on Monday. “I could be on death row for 10, 15 years. The comforts that they get in 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. But your privacy, your daily quality of life privacy, at my age, is invaluable.”
“Eye for an eye,” Ruth Wachholtz said on Tuesday. “Unfortunately, our modern justice is not like that. It allows people to sleep, eat, play, have shelter, and be clothed for free.”
Lorenzo, who admitted to killing their sons, met the mothers’ ire with brief statements when he had the chance to cross-examine them.
“Thank you for your time,” he told the soft-spoken Wachholtz.
“Good luck to you,” he told the fiery Williams. “Have a good one.”
He waived his closing argument on Tuesday.
The women remembered their sons in glowing terms.
“Always did he have heart,” Ruth Wachholtz said of Michael Wachholtz. “He was a friend to all.”
Williams said Galehouse had charisma and lit up the room when he entered.
“He was sweet, kind,” she said. “He had a good personality. Everybody liked him.”
Both women told the judge they wanted Lorenzo to get the highest penalty possible – execution.
“It’s time to end this,” Ruth Wachholtz said.
Formal sentencing is set for Feb. 24.
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]