A former ice cream truck driver convicted of killing two people and seriously wounding four others in a 2010 Florida shooting was sentenced Friday to life in prison, more than 12 years after the attack.
Michael Keetley was convicted in March of two counts of murder and four counts of attempted murder.
“This has been a very long road and a very difficult case,” Judge Christopher Sabella said in announcing the sentence. «What it shows the victims in this case is that justice is not always swift, but justice is done eventually.»
Sabella sentenced Keetley, 52, to life in prison for each of the six charges he faced, without the possibility of parole.
Juan Guitron, 28, and Sergio Guitron, 22, were fatally shot and four others seriously injured in November 2010 on the front porch of a Ruskin, Florida home while celebrating Thanksgiving.
Prosecutors argued that Keetley committed the attack in a case of mistaken identity that was the deadly culmination of a revenge drive. Keetley had been mugged and shot about a year before the slayings and was frustrated with the official investigation into the robbery, prosecutors said, and decided to take matters into his own hands.
The former ice cream man was falsely convinced that a man nicknamed “Creeper” was behind the robbery and went looking for him that night in November 2010. The people killed and injured had nothing to do with Keetley’s robbery, prosecutors said. . Neither was the man nicknamed the Creeper, who was not among the six men shot at the Ruskin home, police said.
argued the defense shooting survivors identified the wrong man and that Keetley was incapable of committing the attack due to injuries sustained when he was shot and robbed months earlier.
“This is our defense, Michael Keetley is not guilty because he did not do it. Michael Keetley didn’t do it, he couldn’t do it. He is not medically capable.» said defense attorney John Grant during the trial.
Richard Escobar, another member of the defense, argued that multiple mistakes were made by law enforcement after the 2010 attack, saying that «the investigation that followed was nothing short of a nightmare in itself.»
Before sentencing was handed down Friday, a judge denied motions for a new trial and an acquittal.
Keetley’s lawyers said after the sentencing that they intend to appeal.
Paz Quezada, the mother of Juan and Sergio Guitron, addressed Keetley directly during the sentencing hearing, telling him that he «took half my life» and «destroyed my heart.»
“My children were the only thing I had,” Quezada said. «I loved them with all my heart.»
Gonzalo Guevara, who survived the shooting, wore a T-shirt with a photo of the Guitron brothers as he addressed the court.
“It has caused so much pain to everyone involved,” Guevara said.
“You hurt so many people,” he told Keetley directly. «We know what you did that night and you know what you did that night.»
Quezada told NBC News before sentencing that Friday was also his birthday, and his only wish is one he has clung to since the night of the attack: that the man who tore his tight-knit family apart be locked up for the rest of his life. his life. his life.
“It is the best gift that God could give me,” Quezada said through tears. She said that she prayed for the strength to live and see the day when her children would have justice. “I keep fighting for my children. I will never forget you.»