TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A judge declared a mistrial in the long-awaited trial of the Tampa Bay ice cream truck driver accused of a double-murder and four attempted murders in the early morning hours of Thanksgiving Day 2010.
A Hillsborough County jury began deliberating Michael Keetley’s fate on Thursday. On Friday morning, the jury told the judge it was deadlocked.
The 12 jurors said they were certain they couldn’t reach a unanimous verdict on whether or not to convict Keetley. The judge sent the jury back for more deliberations after receiving the communication from jurors.
Less than an hour later, the jury was still hung and the judge declared the mistrial.
The mother of the two victims – slain brothers Sergio and Juan Guitron – and other survivors of the shooting were in court as the judge announced the mistrial. They appeared dejected and disappointed as the judge announced the hung jury.
“It’s not over, we do it again,” Assistant State Attorney Jay Pruner said, addressing family of the victims and the survivors.
Keetley has always maintained his innocence while sitting in jail for nearly a decade waiting to stand trial.
Prosecutors said his motive was revenge for being shot during a robbery of $12 at his ice cream truck in January 2010. Deputies said his shooting on the Porch of a Ruskin home targeted the wrong people.
Keetley’s defense attorney Lyann Goudie argued he was too wounded from being shot to be the shooter.
“There’s a lot of strong evidence tying him to the scene,” State Attorney Andrew Warren said Friday afternoon. “The preparation that he did, the ballistics evidence. There were weaknesses with some of the identifications.”
That weakness of eyewitness identifications became a strength for Keetley’s defense.
“I believe we poked the holes into the state’s case through our cross-examination and our presentation of our witnesses,” Goudie said.
A new trial date for Keetley has been tentatively set for May.
“It’s really difficult for victims and their families as they go through this process,” Warren told 8 On Your side. “The wheels of justice unfortunately move slowly, but we do move forward.”
If convicted, Keetley will automatically serve a life in prison sentence after the state ended pursuing the death penalty in 2019.
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