A Florida ice cream truck driver furious at being shot five times and deprived of $12 was sentenced to life in prison on Friday for killing two brothers he mistakenly believed to be at the origin of the attack.
Michael Keetley, 52, shot dead Juan Guitron, 28, and Sergio Guitron, 22, on Thanksgiving Day 2010, murdering the couple as they stood on the porch of a home in Ruskin, Florida. Four others were injured.
But it later emerged the Guitron brothers had nothing to do with the January 2010 attack on Keetley, which left him disabled for life, with metal rods in his bones.
Keetley’s defense attorneys argued that he could not have physically performed the shooting due to his injuries.
Michael Keetley, 52, is pictured outside court on Friday for his sentencing
Victims Juan Guitron, 28, and Sergio Guitron, 22, of Ruskin, Florida
Keetley is seen at an initial court hearing over 10 years ago. The ice cream man is pictured in January 2011: he was sentenced on Friday for the November 2010 murders
They said injuries to his hands prevented him from pulling the trigger.
“It’s our defense – Michael Keetley is not guilty because he didn’t do it,” said John Grant, Keetley’s attorney.
He told the jury: ‘Michael Keetley didn’t do it, he couldn’t do it. He is not medically fit.
Keetley’s lawyers also condemned the handling of the shooting investigation, which they called “nothing short of a nightmare”.
His first trial in 2020 ended in a mistrial, but his second trial ended with a guilty verdict in March.
“It’s been a very long road and a very difficult case,” Judge Christopher Sabella said, announcing the sentencing.
“What this shows to the victims in this case is that justice is not always quick, but justice is ultimately served.”
The jury heard that a man wearing a “sheriff” t-shirt arrived at the Ruskin home in a van and came out carrying a shotgun.
The Ruskin, Florida home where the Guitron brothers were murdered in November 2010
Keetley was driving that ice cream truck. He was attacked in the truck in January 2010 and shot five times for 12 dollars: left handicapped, he wanted revenge
Keetley is seen Friday with his lawyers. They argued that he was physically unable to pull the trigger on the gun
Paz Quezada, the mother of the Guitron brothers, is seen in court on Friday
Paz Quezada hugs a supporter on Friday after Keetley’s sentencing
He asked for someone nicknamed “Creeper”, who wasn’t there but was known to the group.
Keetley believed that “Creeper” was responsible for the ice cream truck shooting: it was later discovered that he had no involvement.
Keetley then ordered everyone to lie on the ground, according to Fox News.
Thinking Keetley was a member of law enforcement, the men complied and he shot them one by one.
Paz Quezada, the Guitron brothers’ mother, spoke directly to Keetley during the sentencing hearing, BNC News reported.
She told him that he “took half my life” and “destroyed my heart”.
“My sons were the only thing I had,” she said. “I loved them with all my heart.
Gonzalo Guevara, who survived the shooting, wore a T-shirt with a picture of the Guitron brothers as he addressed the court.
“He caused so much pain for everyone involved,” he said.
“You’ve hurt so many people,” Guevara told Keetley directly.
“We know what you did that night and you know what you did that night.”
Keetley’s attorneys have announced their intention to appeal.