Death penalty uncertain in another Tampa murder case

- Prosecutors said and ice cream truck driver - seeking revenge and armed with a gun - killed two and injured four back in 2010. But the death penalty may not be on the table for defendant Michael Keetley based on the ongoing controversy with Florida's death penalty sentencing guidelines. 

The U.S Supreme Court said Florida's death penalty sentencing procedure was unconstitutional, because it gave too much power to a judge, and not the jury.

Attorney Anthony Rickman explained why lawmakers still haven't solved the confusion.

"What the Supreme Court didn't do is address whether the jury's decision should be unanimous or some sort of super majority," explained Rickman.

Lawmakers scrambling to fix the law, chose a super-majority. Under the new guidelines, a 10 to 2 vote is all a jury needs to hand down a death sentence and the jury's decision is final. 

In its latest motion, Keetley's attorney said the new law is still unconstitutional, adding, the vote should be unanimous, as all verdicts are. 

Rickman reviewed the motion for FOX 13 News and said, "it's either a unanimous decision or it's not, and if it's not, they have the opportunity to sentence that person to life in prison." 

Last week, a Miami judge rejected the new death penalty guidelines based on his analysis of social norms and the constitution, Rickman said.  

In his ruling, Circuit Judge Milton Hirsch wrote, "every verdict in every criminal case in Florida requires the concurrence, not of some, not of most, but of all jurors - every single one of them."

Rickman added, "in a petty theft case, like taking a Kit Kat from from a Kash and Karry, you need a unanimous verdict. You need all six jurors, because its a misdemeanor. Why, then, on a murder case where you are sentencing someone to death, do you need less than that?"

A Tampa judge is expected to hear arguments on Keetley's motion May 20.

Up Next:

Up Next

  • Death penalty uncertain in another Tampa murder case
  • Escaped prisoner captured by Hernando County deputies
  • Unborn baby dies, others injured in Largo crash
  • A/C problems plague Hillsborough classrooms
  • Tampa church holds vigil for unity, Charlottesville victims
  • K9 chases down suspect who fled during traffic stop
  • Palmetto woman snaps close encounter with bobcat
  • Florida's forensic investigators face range of challenges
  • Ebay stops Bay Area company from registering domain name
  • New court program tackles custody and dependency