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Wednesday, Sep 20, 2017
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High Court Won't Hear Appeal In Drug, Torture Case

TAMPA - The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to hear the appeal of Steven Lorenzo, who is serving 200 years in federal prison for drugging and sexually torturing nine men. The court's refusal to take the case follows a ruling in September by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals that there was "ample evidence to support the jury's verdict of conviction on all counts." Lorenzo is serving his sentence at the U.S. Penitentiary-Lee in Jonesville, Va. He was convicted of nine counts of distributing the date-rape drug GHB with the intent of committing a crime of violence and one count of conspiring with Scott Schweickert. Evidence in the trial showed Lorenzo lured men to his Seminole Heights home, slipped the drug in their drinks and used chains, handcuffs and plastic zip ties to restrain them while he beat and sexually tortured them. Two of the victims in December 2003 died: Jason Galehouse and Michael Wachholtz.
Lorenzo's court-appointed attorney, Ellis Rexwood Curry IV, argued unsuccessfully that the evidence at Lorenzo's trial was insufficient and that the prosecution inappropriately introduced evidence of murder in a drug case. Curry also argued that the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution did not permit prosecutions like this in federal court. Lorenzo has not been charged with murder in the deaths of Galehouse and Wachholtz, although Hillsborough State Attorney Mark Ober has said his office was preparing charges. Schweickert is serving 40 years in federal prison for conspiring with Lorenzo and drugging Wachholtz. A federal appeals court also rejected his appeal.

Reporter Elaine Silvestrini can be reached at (813) 259-7837 or esilvestrini@tampatrib.com.

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