A former ice cream truck vendor's murder trial ended in a mistrial after the jury was unable to reach a verdict.
Michael Keetley was charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Sergio Gultron and Juan Gultron – and the attempted murders of Daniel Beltran, Gonzalo Guevara, Ramon Galan Jr. and Richard Cantu.
It's a case that has dragged on for nearly 10 years, ever since Keetley was arrested for allegedly shooting and killing the Gultron brothers and injuring four others.
His case has been tangled in a cobweb of legal limbo.
To fully understand the Keetley murder trial, you’ll have to go back in time to Jan. 23, 2010. That’s the day Keetley was ambushed off Old U.S. Highway 41 while driving his ice cream truck.
He was shot five times by two masked men.
Police said he managed to drive down the road and flag down a woman who was one of his regular customers. It turned out he had been shot over just $12.
Keetley spoke with 10News just a couple of weeks after the shooting.
Months later, detectives say Keetley was obsessed with finding and getting revenge on the person responsible for shooting him. It was reported that Keetley was looking for a man with the street name “Kreeper.”
Around 2 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning, Nov. 25, 2010, detectives say Keetley pulled up to a house in the Ocean Mist neighborhood, of Ruskin, Fl., where he thought “Kreeper” lived.
Police reports stated Keetley shot six men. However, according to investigators, none of them had anything to do with Keetley being robbed and shot 10 months earlier.
Brothers Sergio and Juan Guitran died. The four other men survived.
In January 2011, Keetley pleaded not guilty to two counts of first-degree murder and four counts of attempted first-degree murder. He denied having anything to do with the shooting.
In the summer of 2011, the Hillsborough County state attorney released more than 900 pages of court documents detailing Keetley’s alleged vigilante investigation and painted a picture of a man looking for revenge.
A year and a half after Keetley was shot in his ice cream truck, no one was arrested for that crime – but Keetley had been in jail waiting to stand trial.
There have been several issues that have kept the case from moving faster through the court system.
In February 2011, Florida State Attorney Mark Ober initially stated he would seek the death penalty against Keetley. After a round of back and forth, the death penalty was taken off the table.
Fast forward to the year 2020, when Keetley’s case finally went to court. Twelve jurors, which consisted of nine women, three men and three female alternates, were selected and seated on Feb. 5.
Opening statements from the state and the defense lasted an entire day, and the jury began to hear testimony on Feb. 7, 2010.
Over the course of three weeks, the defense called more than 40 witnesses, which included detectives, forensic experts – and a few former female partners of Keetley.
Keetley’s murder trial took an interesting twist on Thursday, after the state completed its rebuttal and closing arguments. Keetley decided to waive his right to closing arguments.
People in the courtroom were shocked when they learned the news. Keetley reassured the judge this is what he wanted, and that it was solely his decision.
The jurors deliberated but were unable to reach a unanimous decision, leading to the mistrial.
Now, prosecutors are on the clock. Under Florida law, they have 90 days to bring Keetley back to trial.
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