One of the men allegedly behind one of Tampa's most shocking murders faced a Hillsborough County judge for the first time today.
Scott Schweickert is accused of helping to torture and kill two men after luring them from a nightclub in 2003.
Schweickert said little Monday morning as his public defenders entered a plea of not guilty and waived his right to a speedy trial.
That just means Schwieckert's legal team needs more time to explore some of the issues in this very complicated case.
Schweickert and a man named Steven Lorenzo are accused of killing Jason Galehouse and Michael Wachholz after torturing and raping them 11 years ago.
Schweickert has been in federal prison on charges related to the incident, but not murder.
He faces the death penalty on top of the 40 year sentence he already has.
His attorneys will explore how the publicity this has gotten will impact a possible trial, with full understanding of the deep emotions this case brings up in victims' families.
"We obviously feel great sympathy for the families of any victims. There are a lot of victims in this case, on all sides including the defendant's family,” said Byron Heilman of the Regional Counsel Homicide Division. “I don't advise them on that, I just tell them to be patient and allow the system to work itself out the way it's supposed to."
The other suspect in this case, Steven Lorenzo, is facing 200 years for his role in the killings, but he still has not been charged with murder.
Schweickert is due back in court September 3.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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