...By Gift BADEWO for TDPel Media.
In a case that has been widely discussed in Florida, Michael Keetley, a 52-year-old ice cream truck driver, was sentenced to life imprisonment for a tragic case of mistaken identity.
Keetley took the lives of two innocent brothers, believing they were responsible for a previous attack on him.
The Crime and the Accused
Keetley shot and killed Juan Guitron, aged 28, and Sergio Guitron, aged 22, on Thanksgiving Day 2010.
The brothers were at a house porch in Ruskin, Florida when they were murdered, and four other individuals were injured in the incident.
The tragic twist to the story is that it was later revealed the Guitron brothers had no connection with the attack on Keetley, which took place in January 2010, left him permanently disabled, and had metal rods inserted into his bones.
Defense and Trial
Keetley’s defense lawyers presented an argument stating that Keetley was physically incapable of carrying out the shooting due to his injuries, with particular emphasis on his hands.
Attorney John Grant firmly told the jury that Keetley was not medically capable of executing the crime.
The defense also criticized the investigation’s handling, referring to it as a ‘nightmare.’
His first trial in 2020 ended in a mistrial. However, his second trial resulted in a guilty verdict in March.
Sentencing and Aftermath
Judge Christopher Sabella, announcing the sentence, pointed out that “justice is not always swift, but justice is eventually served”.
The tragic incident took place when a man in a ‘sheriff’ t-shirt approached the house in Ruskin and started shooting after asking for someone nicknamed ‘Creeper’.
Keetley had mistakenly believed that ‘Creeper’ was behind the ice cream truck shooting, but this was not the case.
Emotions Run High in Court
During the sentencing hearing, the emotional toll of the incident was clearly evident.
Paz Quezada, the mother of the Guitron brothers, gave a heartfelt statement, expressing how Keetley had ‘destroyed her heart’ and ‘took half of her life’.
Similarly, Gonzalo Guevara, a survivor of the shooting, also expressed the pain caused by Keetley.