A onetime Florida ice cream man who prosecutors say turned into a revenge-seeking vigilante is headed to prison after he was found guilty on Tuesday on various murder and attempted murder charges.
Michael Keetley, 52, was convicted on two counts of murder and four counts of attempted murder for the incident that occurred on Thanksgiving Day 2010.
Prosecutors alleged, and jurors believed, the defendant donned the garb of law enforcement and forced a group of men to the ground at a house on Ocean Mist Court in Ruskin — before taking his long gun and shooting a flurry of bullets, racking, and then firing again.
As a result of that alleged rampage by the black-clad man with a “sheriff” or “police” shirt on, brothers Juan Guitron, 28, and Sergio Guitron, 22, who were known as “Magic” and “Spider,” were killed.
Four others were wounded.
The four attempted murder charges were in relation to victims Daniel Beltran, who was shot three times; Gonzalo Guevara, who was shot four times; Richard Cantu, who was shot in the back of the head; and Ramon Galan, who was shot in the stomach.
A fifth would-be victim at the scene was able to flee without being shot.
Keetley has long maintained his innocence. During his initial police interview, the defendant pointed to his injuries as a reason for not being able to carry out the murders. He spent more than 10 years in Falkenburg Road County Jail before finally standing trial in 2020. In that trial, the jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict, with only two jurors believing he was guilty.
The defense, in the earlier mistrial, highlighted inconsistent ballistics and the fact that the murder weapon is still unknown — state witnesses described various firearms used. Keetley owned multiple guns but even the state’s own crime scene investigator conceded that none of those firearms likely killed the two brothers.
More Law&Crime coverage: ‘Sorry, judge’: Defense attorney for ice cream man accused of double murder repeatedly needles prosecution on opening day of trial
This time, however, the calculus changed substantially.
After reading out the lengthy list of guilty verdicts, the judge polled the jury and each confirmed their verdict was “true and correct.”
The state alleged that Keetley, a victim of an armed robbery in January 2010, who was left permanently disabled after he was taken for $12 and left for dead outside his purple ice cream truck with four gunshot wounds, became intent on exacting vengeance against the people who injured him for life — and that he sought it 10 months later.
“Obsessed with revenge,” prosecutor Jennifer Johnson told jurors in Hillsborough County as the trial began. “That’s what this case is about.”
Judge Christopher C. Sabella oversaw the trial and the defendant’s substantial turn of fortune. As the verdict was read, Keetley sat with his hand on his head, dejectedly shaking his head.
Jurors deliberated three days before rendering their decision. Sentencing was scheduled for May 26.
Christina Bubba contributed to this report.
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