A Florida ice cream truck driver who executed two brothers in a 2010 mistaken-identity shooting related to a $12 robbery was sentenced Friday to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Michael Keetley, 52, was found guilty back in March of two counts of murder and four counts of attempted murder.
On Friday, more than 12 years after Keetley opened fired on a group of people in Ruskin, a judge sentenced him to six life sentences, one for each count, to be served concurrently.
“This has been a very long road and a very difficult case,” Judge Christopher Sabella said while announcing the sentence, as NBC News reported. “What it shows to the victims in this case is that justice is not always swift, but justice is eventually served.”
Prosecutors said that Keetley, who worked as an ice cream vendor, targeted the wrong people in retaliation for a violent attack on him in January 2010, in which two masked men shot him five times and stole $12 from his truck.
In the wake of the shooting, doctors placed metal rods in Keetley’s bones and he was left permanently disabled.
On Thanksgiving Day in 2010, several men were playing cards and drinking beer in front a home on Ocean Mist Court in Ruskin when a dark-colored minivan pulled up, and a man wearing a shirt with “Sheriff” printed on it got out carrying a shotgun.
Survivors later recounted how the man asked for someone nicknamed “Creeper,” who was not there but was known to the group.
The man in the “Sheriff” shirt then ordered everyone to lie on the ground.
Believing that the stranger was a cop, the men complied with his command before he shot them one by one.
Brothers Juan Guitron, 28, and Sergio Guitron, 22, were killed.
Four other victims — Daniel Beltran, Gonzalo Guevara, Ramon Galan Jr. and Richard Cantu — suffered gunshot wounds but survived.
Days later, an informant tipped police off about Keetley’s possible involvement in the shooting.
The informant, Esteban Rivera, said that Keetley had been looking for his attackers to avenge his shooting — and he mistakenly believed the man known as “Creeper” was one of them.
He was arrested days later and has been in jail ever since. As his case wound its way through the court system, Keetley has maintained his innocence.
His first trial in 2020 ended in a mistrial, but his second trial earlier this year concluded with a guilty verdict.
Prosecutors said that none of the six shooting victims had anything to do with the attack on Keetley — and neither did “Creeper.”
Keetley’s defense lawyers argued that he could not have physically carried out the shooing because of his injuries, including to his hand, which they said would have made it impossible for him to pull the trigger.
“This is our defense — Michael Keetley is not guilty because he did not do it. Michael Keetley did not do it, he could not do it. He is not medically capable,” attorney John Grant said during the trial.
Keetley’s lawyers also lambasted the handling of the investigation into the shooting, which they called “nothing short of a nightmare.”
At Keetley’s sentenceng, Paz Quezada, the Guitron brothers’ mother, told the defendant that he “took half my life.”
“My sons were the only thing I had,” she said. “I loved them with all of my heart.”
Attorneys for Keetley said that they plan to file an appeal.
With Post wires