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State rests in murder trial of former Florida ice cream truck driver

Michael Keetley is on trial for the 2010 murders of two people. He's also accused of shooting four other people.
Credit: 10News WTSP
Michael Keetley

TAMPA, Fla. — Earlier this morning, the state of Florida rested its case in the murder trial of Michael Keetley.

Shortly after the state rested its case, Keetley’s defense team presented a motion for an acquittal.

Keetley is on trial for the 2010 murders of Juan and Sergio Gultron and the attempted murders of four others.

Defense attorney Lyann Goudie explained to the judge that the eyewitnesses who identified her client as the shooter were unreliable, and the photo lineup Det. Lugo presented was flawed.

“It was a blatant violation of standard operation procedure,” Goudie said.

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Goudie explained that when Det. Lugo asked Gonzalo Guevara, one of the survivors, to go through an array of photos, Lugo failed to turn on his recorder and also wrote down the wrong number from the photograms on the form.

“Number four is written on the form, and he later changed it to number three. Keetley was written in position number three,” Goudie said.

The defense also said the state doesn’t have any evidence that Keetley is capable of shooting a gun given his injuries from when he was shot and robbed in Jan. 2010.

Prosecutors pushed back and said there’s more than enough evidence that connects Keetley to the deadly shooting that took place during the early morning hours of Thanksgiving 2010.

Prosecutors said several people testified that Keetley was asking around for a person who goes by the name of "Kreeper," who he believed is the person who shot and robbed him while on his ice cream truck on Jan. 23, 2010.

The people who Keetley is accused of shooting testified in court that the shooter asked if they knew where "Kreeper" was before he pulled the trigger.

During the trial, the court listened to an audio recording of Keetley being interviewed by detectives where he denied several times that he wasn’t looking for a person by the name of "Kreeper."

After listening to both sides, the judge denied the defense’s motion for an acquittal and continued with the trial.

The defense team now has the case, and they called Keetley’s sister, Jessica Hadley, to the witness stand.

Hadley shared with the jury how her mother helped her brother during his recovery. 

“Mom used to cut up his food. Mom helped him get dressed,” she said.

The defense asked Hadley to think back to Thanksgiving 2010. She recalled that Keetley had difficulty eating that day. When the defense asked Hadley if she remembered if Keetley walked with a limp on that day, she said yes.

During cross-examination, the state asked Hadley if she had any knowledge of where her brother was during the early morning hours of Thanksgiving 2010, and if Keetley ever had a conversation with her about finding the person who shot him.

To both questions, Hadley replied no.

The defense called several other witnesses. including Tom Dirks, a Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office homicide detective who was on the case, Jessica Hadley’s mother-in-law Jaqueline Burgess, a toxicologist, and James Kennedy, who sold Keetley a rifle in a Publix parking lot.

Kennedy placed the rifle up for sale on the gun trade site, Florida Gun Trader.

Kennedy testified that Keetley purchased the gun for $150 in cash. 

“It’s more usual to use cash on this transaction,” Kennedy said.

The defense asked Kennedy to describe the rifle. 

“It weighs about four pounds. It’s meant for a child…a child’s first gun. It’s lightweight,” he said.

He explained that the gun does not fire .45 bullets, which are the type of shell casing detectives found at the crime scene in Ruskin in the neighborhood of Ocean Mist, where two people were killed and four others were injured from gunshot wounds.

Court will resume at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday.

The judge expects the defense and the state to hold closing arguments on Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020.

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