TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – After a nearly decade wait, a jury is now deciding whether to convict former ice cream truck driver Michael Keetley for a double-murder and four attempted murders in the early morning hours of Thanksgiving Day 2010.
Jurors went home around 5 p.m. Thursday without having reached a verdict and deliberations are expected to resume at 9 a.m. Friday.
Judge Christopher Sabella read the instructions for the jurors Thursday morning in a Hillsborough County courtroom after Keetley waived his right to have his defense attorney deliver a closing argument.
Keetley, 49, has always maintained his innocence. He did not testify during the trial.
With the death penalty off the table, Keetley is looking at a life in prison sentence if convicted.
“We will prove this case beyond all reasonable doubt through eyewitness testimony, through physical evidence that was collected at the scene and at the defendant’s residence that directly tied him to this crime,” Assistant State Attorney Michelle Doherty said during the state’s opening statement.
Keetley’s defense attorney Lyann Goudie responded in her opening statement that the wrong man has sat behind bars all these years.
“Michael Keetley is not guilty,” Goudie said. “This is a case of misidentification, unreliable eyewitness testimony and circumstantial evidence it’s not enough to convict in the state of Florida.”
The mother of the brothers who Keetley is accused of killing, Sergio and Juan Guitron, told 8 On Your Side she is keeping a promise she made to her sons to be in court for every day of the trial.
Prosecutors say Keetley showed up to a Ruskin home on Nov. 25, 2010, posing as a law enforcement officer when he opened fire on several men.
According to the state’s case, Keetley was obsessed with finding someone named “Creeper” as he sought revenge for a January 2010 shooting during a robbery at his ice cream truck that left him seriously wounded.
“His prayers for justice turned into an understanding and search for vigilante justice,” Assistant State Attorney Jay Pruner said during his closing argument.
Goudie told the jury that after a night of drinking and drug use, witnesses only identified the ice cream man as the shooter after a mass text message with a photo of Keetley claiming he killed the brothers circulated among friends.
Another element of Keetley’s defense is that he was so wounded from the shooting at his ice cream truck that he was physically incapable of carrying out the shooting spree.
The trial lasted three weeks. Stay with 8 On Your Side for updates when the jury reaches a decision.