HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — Opening statements for the Michael Keetley trial began Thursday morning. Keetley is standing trial on two charges of first-degree murder and four counts of attempted murder.
Keetley was an ice cream truck vendor in 2010, when he was robbed and shot by two masked men. He felt law enforcement wasn’t doing enough to find out who shot him, so investigators say he took matters into his own hands.
On Nov. 25, 2010, within the early morning hours of about 2 a.m., detectives say Keetley shot six people he believed were responsible for robbing and shooting him 10 months earlier.
Sergio Gultron and Juan Gultron died, and the other four men were left with injuries.
During opening statements, prosecutors set the scene for the jury by taking them back to that Thanksgiving morning.
The state told jurors Keetley, who was dressed in law enforcement-type clothing and carrying a loaded weapon, told the people at the house he was looking for a man who goes by the name of Creeper. He then demanded everyone to show their identification and immediately started to fire his loaded .45 caliber firearm.
“The man wanted vengeance. And he continued to shoot,” prosecutors told the jury.
When the prosecutor started to give a detailed description of how two of the men died, two family members, overwhelmed with emotions, left the courtroom.
The prosecutor’s opening statement went on for about an hour.
The defense flipped the script during its opening statement and told the jurors this is a “case of misidentification,” and that Michael Keetley “is not guilty.”
Keetley’s lawyer, Lyann Goudie, said eyewitnesses’ testimonies are unreliable, and there isn’t enough evidence to “convict in the state of Florida or anywhere else.”
After the opening statements, the state asked the judge if they can show the jury a 10News report from nearly 10 years ago. From that story, the jury heard Michael Keetley describe what happened to him as a victim of a violent crime.
The state has at least 45 people on its witness list. Detectives, crime scene investigators, former coworkers and ex-girlfriends were called to the stand within the first two days of the trial.
Detectives said the six people Keetley shot – including the men who died – were not involved in the initial attack on Keetley.
Keetley’s attackers were never found.
Keetley, now 49, has been in jail for nearly 10 years. His case has been held up due to several legal issues. In 2019, the state attorney decided not to pursue the death penalty in the case.
And, in 2018, his defense attorney got the judge to grant bail – $900,000. Keetley has been unable to pay that bond.
The trial is expected wrap up within three weeks.
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