A shocking crime from over a decade ago has finally reached its conclusion as a former Florida ice cream truck driver was found guilty of a vengeful double homicide. Michael Keetley, 53, was convicted on two counts of murder and four counts of attempted murder after seeking revenge at the wrong home. On Thanksgiving Day in 2010, he opened fire on six men who were innocently playing cards and enjoying some beers on a front porch in Ruskin, Florida.
The tragic incident resulted in the deaths of two brothers, Sergio Guitron and Juan Guitron. Prosecutors revealed that Keetley had been seeking revenge for an incident that occurred 11 months prior. During that incident, he was viciously attacked, shot in the hand and shoulder, and robbed while working from his blue ice cream truck. This horrifying event seemed to ignite an obsession for vengeance within Keetley.
Throughout Keetley’s trial, his attorney called a surgeon who had treated the defendant’s bullet-shattered hand and shoulder to testify. Dr. David Halpern explained that Keetley’s injuries would have severely impacted his ability to use a firearm. The radial nerve, responsible for hand and finger movement, had been significantly damaged, leaving Keetley with limited functionality. He would have been unable to extend his fingers, thumb, or wrist in his right hand.
“The injuries rendered Mr. Keetley incapable of extending his fingers, thumb, or wrist in his right hand,” stated Dr. Halpern during cross-examination. This testimony seemed to support Keetley’s defense, suggesting that operating a shotgun, which requires both hands, would have been impossible for him.
Assistant State Attorney Jennifer Johnson, however, challenged this argument. Using a water bottle as a prop, she demonstrated that while it may have been difficult, it wasn’t entirely impossible for Keetley to hold something. Dr. Halpern agreed that, with a modified grip and diminished strength, Keetley could indeed maintain a grip on an object placed in his hand.
In addition to the medical testimony, the jury also heard from Jacqueline Burgess, the mother-in-law of Keetley’s sister. She testified that Keetley attended Thanksgiving dinner at her son and daughter-in-law’s home, but she never witnessed him using his right hand. Burgess even noted that Keetley’s mother had to cut his food for him.
Despite the testimonies from both Dr. Halpern and Burgess, the jury reached a guilty verdict. Keetley was charged with two counts of first-degree murder for the deaths of Sergio and Juan Guitron, as well as the attempted murders of Daniel Beltran, Gonzalo Guevara, Ramon Galan Jr., and Richard Cantu. He was found guilty on all counts of attempted murder as well.
The sentencing date for Keetley has been set for May 26 at 9 a.m. He now faces the possibility of life in prison without the possibility of parole for his heinous crimes.
This tragic case serves as a reminder that even seemingly ordinary individuals can be driven to commit unimaginable acts of violence. It is essential to prioritize safety and seek appropriate help when facing personal conflicts. Let us all strive to promote peace and understanding within our communities.
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Image: An ice cream truck | Source: Unsplash