Killer ice cream man sentenced to life in prison
TAMPA, Fla. - Michael Keetley will spend the rest of his life behind bars.
Tampa Judge Christopher Sabella made that decision on Friday morning handing down a life sentence for all six counts Keetley was convicted on.
"Mr. Keetley, you will, barring any reversal on appeal, spend the rest of your natural life in the Florida Department of corrections," said Sabella.
Keetley is a former ice cream man who was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder and four counts of attempted murder in the shootings of six men playing cards on a front porch in Ruskin on Thanksgiving Day 2010.
Juan and Sergio Guitron, who were bothers, were the men killed in the shooting on that day.
Eleven months before the shooting rampage, Keetley, who was an ice cream man at the time, was robbed and shot while on his route. Prosecutors say Keetley was out for revenge the morning of the shooting.
The surviving victims remember the shooter dressed as a law enforcement officer, with a long gun, and asking for a man named "Creeper." Prosecutors say Keetley, who had been robbed and shot during his ice cream route was convinced "Creeper" was somehow involved after asking around the neighborhood.
Frustrated with the police investigation, they say Keetley decided to take deadly vigilante justice.
Ten years later, Keetley went on trial for murder but the trial ended with a hung jury in February 2020. He was tried again in 2023 and after deliberating for 13 hours over three days a jury found him guilty on all counts.
During the sentencing Friday morning, the mother who lost her two sons, Paz Quezada, addressed Keetley directly. She wanted to know why he had murdered her sons.
"You took half of my life away, you tore my heart out," said Quezada.
She told Keetley he robbed her of future memories with her sons and of being a grandmother someday. Keetley showed no emotion during her testimony.
Later, one of the survivors of the rampage, Daniel Beltran, who took four bullets that day, told Keeley that he forgives him for what he did. Beltran also said he lives with the trauma of what happened every day.
"They can’t erase my memory. I remember exactly what happened. I never lost consciousness from the moment he pulled up to the moment I was taken in a helicopter to the hospital," explained Beltran.
Before he was sentenced, the judge denied a defense motion for a new trial and acquittal. The judge said each life sentence carries a minimum mandatory of 25 years, which means Keetley will spend the rest of his life in prison.
Keetley’s lawyers told the court this wasn’t over, they plan to appeal the conviction. He will have 30 days to appeal the decision.