TAMPA, Fla. - Michael Keetley was the most popular guy in the neighborhood. Kids flocked to his ice cream truck on hot summer days, but those days are long gone for Michael Keetley.
He is now a criminal defendant staring at a life sentence for allegedly committing two murders and trying to kill four others.
That did not stop the combative defendant from giving the FOX 13 News camera the middle finger during a hearing Friday. Prosecutors and defense attorneys fought over what evidence the jury will hear in a trial set to start early next year.
The trial is about nine years overdue. The mother of two of the victims, Paz Quezada has watched the justice system crawl and stall for nearly a decade.
But the days when she and her boys were inseparable seem like yesterday.
"We three were like one person, me and my boys," explained Quezada.
Prosecutors say Keetley was out for revenge after he was robbed weeks earlier, so he went on a Thanksgiving Day shooting spree. In a case of mistaken identity, they say Keetley targeted the wrong men and shot the victims as they sat on their porch.
Now a jury is set to hear the horror that unfolded that day and decide whether the former ice cream man had turned into a cold-blooded killer.
The trial is set to begin in February 2020. The state is no longer seeking the death penalty.