Gay murder cases clear hurdle for trial - FOX 13 News

Gay murder cases clear hurdle for trial

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When questioned by police, Steven Lorenzo refused to talk about the string of young gay men who were tortured and murdered, but Lorenzo's friend, Scott Schweickert, did talk.

Now they're both in prison, not for the murders, but for drugging and sexually torturing nine young gay men.

Two of the victims, Jason Galehouse and Michael Wachholtz were murdered seven years ago. Police say Schweickert confessed, implicating Lorenzo, but a disputed Miranda warning about having a lawyer during questioning derailed the murder charges -- until now.

Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Tampa police properly gave Schweickert and scores of others fair warning that they could have a lawyer during questioning.

Prayers answered say the murdered men's families.

"I want the death penalty, all I want to know is where is my son?" says Pam Williams, Jason Galehouse's mom. His DNA was found in Lorenzo's home, and Wachholtz told police Galehouse was dismembered and dumped in trash bins.

"All I know is, there's always been an excuse every time," Williams said. "Excuses, excuses excuses, and I'm tired of excuses. I want it done now!"

How soon is it that Lorenzo might stand trial at the courthouse on the murder charges? That's going to depend on the Hillsborough State Attorney Mark Ober.

"When I heard the decision," Ober said, "the first case that came into my mind was Lorenzo- Schweickert."

Ober says he is going to call in the victim families.

"We're going to look at it, we're going to meet with them and we'll sit down and they will be an integral part of our decision making process, and I look forward to doing that, it's time," Ober said.

Some legal experts wonder, with tight budgets, can we afford to put Lorenzo on death row?

John Fitzgibbons is a former federal prosecutor.

"Do you go out now and spend a million dollars or more to seek the death penalty that will probably result in 20 years of appeals, costing millions of dollars more?" Fitzgibbons asked.

That's a decision for the State Attorney.
 

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