A Florida ice cream man was sentenced to life in prison without parole on Friday for murdering two men and trying to kill four others in a botched revenge shooting. The defendant, Michael Edward Keetley, 52, had been the victim of an armed robbery in January 2010. Left permanently disabled, he sought vengeance, but prosecutors said it was against the wrong men.
Keetley must serve at least 25 years for the attempted murder charges. He was convicted in March.
Wearing black and sporting a “sheriff” or “police” shirt, he forced the victims to the ground at a home in the community of Ruskin, prosecutors said. He fired a long gun, racked it, then fired again.
Brothers Juan Guitron, 28, and Sergio Guitron, 22, who were known as “Magic” and “Spider,” died. The four attempted murder charges covered 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.
The first trial ended in deadlock, with only two jurors supporting conviction.
The defense, in the 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.
Keetley maintained to police during an initial interview that his injuries barred him from being able to carry out the killings. He had had intensive surgery to his right arm and at least three surgeries to his left hand after the armed robbery.
Jurors in the retrial, however, believed that it was indeed Keetley who shot all six men.
During testimony, the defendant’s then-girlfriend, Stacey Rogan, told jurors that Keetley often talked about trying to find the people who injured him in January 2010.
“He was actively looking for the people that shot him,” she said in response to a question from prosecutor Jennifer Johnson.
The state’s attorney then elicited testimony from the witness that Keetley made statements about taking the law into his own hands.
“Did he tell you what actions he took?” Johnson asked.
The witness said her ex just mentioned talking to residents in the area about the culprits who shot him four times during the robbery, which resulted in a haul of $12.
“Did he talk to you at all about his feelings about law enforcement’s investigation regarding that?” the prosecutor continued.
This time, Rogan had a bit more to say.
“He was very frustrated that they weren’t listening to him,” she said. “He felt that they weren’t listening to him and they weren’t doing anything about information, I guess, that he was getting.”
“Obsessed with revenge,” prosecutor Jennifer Johnson told jurors in Hillsborough County as the trial began. “That’s what this case is about.”
Colin Kalmbacher contributed to this report.
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