Tuesday, May 22, 2018
News Roundup

Man sentenced to life for killing Tampa men he planned to use as sex slaves

TAMPA — Fourteen years after her son was killed in a crime that shocked Tampa Bay, Pam Williams finally got to stand face to face with one of the killers.

At a Tampa courtroom lectern, as television news cameras rolled, Williams held up a framed photo of her son and asked Scott Paul Schweickert to take a long, hard look.

"I look at it every single day," she said. "I don't even have a grave, a body or a tombstone. I have the city dump with my son ground up like hamburger meat in the dirt. So I hope you're satisfied. I hope you rot in hell."

Schweickert, 49, pleaded guilty Wednesday to two counts of first-degree murder for the deaths of Williams' son Jason Galehouse and another man, Michael Wachholtz, also 26, who died a similarly grisly death. Schweic­kert was sentenced to life in prison.

Standing stoically in Circuit Judge Vivian Corvo's courtroom, his disheveled, grey-flecked hair and scraggly beard belying his age, Schweickert admitted to killing Galehouse and Wachholtz after using them as sex slaves.

In the plea agreement, Schweickert agreed to testify against Steven Lorenzo, 57, a man he long ago implicated in the two men's killings.

Lorenzo, 57, has not yet been charged, but he is already serving a 200-year sentence in federal prison for giving nine men, including Wachholtz and Galehouse, the "date rape" drug GHB with the intent to commit violence, and for conspiring with Schweickert to distribute the drug. Schweickert is serving a 40-year sentence.

Schweickert met Lorenzo online in 2003 and the two men talked about their interest in "bondage, torture and sadomasochistic sexual activity with men," according to the plea agreement. They developed a plan to meet single gay men and make them "permanent slaves."

"According to our plan and agreement, once we became tired of, or bored with, a 'permanent slave,' Steven Lorenzo and I would either sell the permanent slave to another practitioner of homosexual sadomasochism or kill" him, the plea deal states.

On Dec. 19, 2003, the men went to Club 2606, a gay club on Armenia Avenue, where they met Galehouse. According to the plea, Galehouse agreed to go to Lorenzo's house on Powhatan Avenue to engage in sadomasochistic sex. The men bound Galehouse to the bed and Schweickert had rough sex with him, the plea states.

Schweickert went to the bathroom and when he returned, Lorenzo had Galehouse in a sleeper hold. Schweickert admitted to throwing his body over Galehouse's legs to stop him from kicking. After Galehouse died, the two men dismembered him with an electric saw and dumped his body parts in trash bins throughout the city. They were never found.

The next night, they went back to the club and invited Wachholtz to Lorenzo's home, where Lorenzo spiked Wachholtz's drink with GHB. Schweickert admitted to holding Wachholtz down while Lorenzo put a solvent-soaked rag over his face until he passed out. The two men took off his clothes, taped his mouth and bound his arms and legs with handcuffs. He died on the living room floor.

Schweickert said he helped Lorenzo wrap the body in a tarp and place it in the back of Lorenzo's Jeep. They drove to a Tampa apartment complex and left the Jeep in the parking lot.

Wachholtz's body was eventually found. Police accused Lorenzo and Schweickert and said there were other victims who survived.

Prosecutors charged Lorenzo with drugging nine men. They charged Schweickert with drugging Galehouse and conspiring with Lorenzo. Jurors saw pictures of men bound and naked, eyes shut, in a Seminole Heights bungalow and heard testimony of sex and torture. Though jurors convicted them of related crimes, the pair still were not charged with murder.

Schweickert was indicted on the murder charges in 2012 and prosecutors announced their intention to seek the death penalty. Part of the delay was due to a Miranda rights issue that was later resolved.

"It was a complicated case and we had to a take a methodical approach in order to secure convictions," said Mark Cox, a spokesman for the State Attorney's Office in Tampa.

Cox declined to comment on when Lorenzo might be charged or whether prosecutors would seek the death penalty.

That's what Williams is hoping for. In an interview with the Tampa Bay Times, Williams said she was disappointed by how long it's taking to resolve the case. She was fine with the plea deal for Schweickert if it leads to a death sentence for Lorenzo.

"He's the one that actually killed my son," she said. "You never have closure, but at least it will give me some peace of mind."

Contact Tony Marrero at [email protected] or (813) 226-3374. Follow @tmarrerotimes.

     
Comments
Admiral Farragut’s grit brings state softball glory

Admiral Farragut’s grit brings state softball glory

VERO BEACH — It was only natural to think of Admiral Farragut’s state title chances more in terms of the future. After all, the roster consists of zero seniors and just two juniors. The rest are sophomores, freshmen and middle-schoolers. Because of t...
Updated: 2 hours ago
The key stat for Lightning-Capitals Game 7? Score first

The key stat for Lightning-Capitals Game 7? Score first

As the Lightning and Capitals prepare for their series finale Wednesday night at Amalie Arena in Tampa, here's a by-the-numbers look at each team's Game 7 history.5-2The Lightning's record in Game 7s. It has never lost at home (3-0).+5The Lightning's...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Rays loss to Red Sox

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Rays loss to Red Sox

Marc Topkin's takeaways from Rays 4-2 loss to Red Sox on Tuesday:* The Rays record against a Red Sox team they consider a measuring stick doesn't look very good at 3-8. But, as manager Kevin Cash and several players pointed out, there is some consola...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Forecast: Caribbean storm could grow into tropical system

Forecast: Caribbean storm could grow into tropical system

A storm system in the Caribbean Sea could grow into a tropical cyclone within five days, according to the National Hurricane Center.Forecasters give the system a 50 percent chance to develop.The storm’s low-pressure center on Tuesday was nestled betw...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Academy at the Lakes wins first state softball title

Academy at the Lakes wins first state softball title

VERO BEACH —Academy at the Lakes waited two weeks to play in the Class 2A state softball tournament in hopes of winning what has been an elusive title.The Wildcats completed the first task Monday, cruising to a mercy-rule win over Fort Pierce John Ca...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Lightning-Capitals: Tampa Bay’s Game 7 to-do list

Lightning-Capitals: Tampa Bay’s Game 7 to-do list

TAMPA — By now there are no more secrets. After six games over 11 days, the Lightning knows all the Capitals' habits , and the Caps know all the Lightning's.To Lightning coach Jon Cooper the outcome of tonight's Game 7 of the Eastern Conference...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Couple whose dream boat sank finally set sail on ‘new adventure’

Couple whose dream boat sank finally set sail on ‘new adventure’

The young couple whose story traveled around the world after their dream voyage ended early at the bottom of John’s Pass is ready to try again.Three months after the Lagniappe sank, Nikki Walsh, 24, and Tanner Broadwell, 26, said they set sail Tuesda...
Updated: 4 hours ago
USPS to release scratch-and-sniff stamps; Leaks? White House has sinkhole; 2 Oregon teens take down homophobic school officials; more in U.S. news

USPS to release scratch-and-sniff stamps; Leaks? White House has sinkhole; 2 Oregon teens take down homophobic school officials; more in U.S. news

Updated: 5 hours ago
Sheriff: Weeki Wachee High student posted fake school shooting threat

Sheriff: Weeki Wachee High student posted fake school shooting threat

WEEKI WACHEE — A 16-year-old was arrested Tuesday on allegations that she created a fake social media post threatening to shoot students at Weeki Wachee High School, according to the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office.Deputies said the 16-year-old told...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Driver gets 28 years in prison for fleeing fatal Howard Frankland crash

Driver gets 28 years in prison for fleeing fatal Howard Frankland crash

TAMPA — After Allison Huffman slammed her car into a tow truck driver who had stopped to help a pair of stranded motorists on the Howard Frankland Bridge, she drove to a hotel and got out to look at the damage.She saw shattered glass, a bare tire rim...
Updated: 6 hours ago