A Florida ice cream truck driver furious at being shot five times and robbed of $12 was sentenced to life in prison on Friday for killing two brothers he mistakenly believed were behind the attack.
Michael Keetley, 52, shot and killed Juan Guitron, 28, and Sergio Guitron, 22, on Thanksgiving 2010, murdering the pair as they stood on the porch of a house in Ruskin, Florida. Four others were injured.
But it later emerged that the Guitron brothers had nothing to do with the January 2010 attack on Keetley, which left him permanently disabled, with metal rods in his bones.
Keetley’s defense lawyers argued that he could not have physically carried out the shooing because of his injuries.
Michael Keetley, 52, is pictured in court on Friday for his sentencing
Victims Juan Guitron, 28, and Sergio Guitron, 22, of Ruskin, Florida
Keetley is seen in an initial hearing, over 10 years ago. The ice cream man is pictured in January 2011: he was sentenced on Friday for the November 2010 killings
They said that the injuries to his hands made it impossible for him to pull the trigger.
‘This is our defense — Michael Keetley is not guilty because he did not do it,’ said John Grant, Keetley’s attorney.
He told the jury: ‘Michael Keetley did not do it, he could not do it. He is not medically capable.’
Keetley’s lawyers also condemned the handling of the investigation into the shooting, which they called ‘nothing short of a nightmare.’
His first trial in 2020 ended in a mistrial, but his second trial concluded with a guilty verdict in March.
‘This has been a very long road and a very difficult case,’ said Judge Christopher Sabella, announcing the sentence.
‘What it shows to the victims in this case is that justice is not always swift, but justice is eventually served.’
The jury heard that a man wearing a ‘sheriff’ t-shirt arrived at the Ruskin house in a minivan and got out, carrying a shotgun.
The house in Ruskin, Florida, where the Guitron brothers were murdered in November 2010
Keetley drove this ice cream truck. He was attacked in the truck in January 2010 and shot five times for $12: left disabled, he wanted revenge
Keetley is seen on Friday with his lawyers. They argued he was physically incapable of pulling the trigger on the gun
Paz Quezada, the mother of the Guitron brothers, is seen on Friday in court
Paz Quezada hugs a supporter on Friday after the sentencing of Keetley
He asked for someone nicknamed ‘Creeper,’ who was not there but was known to the group.
Keetley believed ‘Creeper’ was responsible for the ice cream truck shooting: he was later found to have 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 mother of the Guitron brothers, addressed Keetley directly during the sentencing hearing, NBC News reported.
She told him that he ‘took half of my life’ and ‘destroyed my heart.’
‘My sons were the only thing I had,’ she said. ‘I loved them with all of my heart.’
Gonzalo Guevara, who survived the shooting, wore a T-shirt with a photo of the Guitron brothers as he addressed the court.
‘He’s caused so much pain to everyone involved,’ he said.
‘You 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 said they plan to appeal.