Ex-ice cream driver to be sentenced this week in ‘Creeper’ shooting case

Paz Quezada has been trying to prepare for this day for over a decade.

On Friday, the man convicted in March of killing his two sons and injuring four others in a shooting in 2010 will finally be sentenced. Friday is also her birthday, and her only wish is the one she’s held on to since the night of the attack: that the man who tore her family together be sidelined for the rest of his life.

“It’s the best gift God can give me,” Quezada told NBC News in tears. She said she prayed for the strength to live to see the day when her sons would have justice. “I continue to fight for my sons. I will never forget them.

Juan Guitron, 28, and Sergio Guitron, 22, were shot and killed and four others were seriously injured in November 2010 on the porch of a home in Ruskin, Florida, where family and friends had gathered to celebrate Thanksgiving Day.

Paz Quezada, the mother of Juan and Sergio Guitron, after a guilty verdict was read at Michael Keetley’s retrial in Tampa, Florida on March 28.Ivy Ceballo/Tampa Bay Times via ZUMA/Alamy

Michael Keetley, a former ice cream truck driver, was convicted in March of two counts of murder and four counts of attempted murder in the attacks. He faces life in prison without the possibility of parole.

During the trial, prosecutors said Keetley became obsessed with revenge after he was robbed and shot while on his ice cream run about a year before the murders. Keetley had been frustrated by law enforcement’s investigation of the robbery, prosecutors said, which had left him injured and needed physical therapy.

Prosecutors said Keetley began his own investigation, coming to the false conclusion that a man nicknamed “Creeper” was behind the robbery.

His revenge plot resulted in a fatal case of mistaken identity. Those killed and injured had nothing to do with Keetley’s robbery, prosecutors said. Neither did the man nicknamed Creeper, who was not among the six men shot dead in Ruskin’s home, police said.

Paz Quezada holds a photo of herself with her sons, Juan and Sergio Guitron.
Paz Quezada holds a photo of herself with her sons, Juan and Sergio Guitron.Ivy Ceballo/Tampa Bay Times via ZUMA/Alamy

“God knows my sons were innocent. They didn’t hurt anyone,” said Quezada, who clutched a cross-shaped necklace that once belonged to Sergio as a guilty verdict was read more than 12 years after his sons died.

Quezada said she and her sons were inseparable, especially after the boy’s father died a few years earlier. She recalled that after the funeral when the three were alone, they cried, held hands “and made a pact to be together, always,” she said.

“The three of us were like one person,” she said.

They still lived together at home, and Quezada said his sons enjoyed having friends and cousins ​​over for barbecues. Sergio loved to cook, she said, making fajitas, burgers and carne asada. On Mother’s Day, her sons would send flowers to her at work, she said.

They were also responsible and hardworking. Sergio worked for a medical parts company and Juan worked for a sofa company, Quezada said.

“They were loved by everyone,” she said.

Quezada said the attack devastated his family and the lives of others seriously injured.

Richard Cantu, a cousin of the Guitrons who was shot in the head in the attack, believes with his family that justice has finally been done pending Keetley’s sentencing.

Cantu suffered brain damage from his injury and had to learn to walk and talk again, while his family waited over a decade and faced a trial in 2020 that ended with a jury desperately in the dead end.

“It was 12 very excruciating years and two trials later,” Cantu’s brother, Frankie Cantu, said alongside his sibling.

Tampa, Florida, USA.  March 6, 2023. Defense attorney John Grant describes the scene of a shooting on Thanksgiving morning, 2010, at Ocean Mist Court in Ruskin while giving opening statements during the murder trial of Michael Keetley before Hillsboro
Defense attorney John Grant describes the scene of a shooting on Thanksgiving morning in 2010 while delivering opening statements during the murder trial of Michael Keetley.Douglas R. Clifford/Tampa Bay Times via ZUMA/Alamy

In moving testimony, survivors of the shooting described how a man ambushed them while they were playing poker and drinking beer on Ruskin’s porch.

Gonzalo Guevara, who was shot four times, testified that an armed white man wearing a T-shirt with the word “sheriff” on it approached the group, demanding to know where Creeper was and telling them to get off and show him their credentials.

Guevara said the group told the man that Creeper was not there and as they got down on their knees the man started shooting at them. He said he was shot in the left hand, twice in the chest and once in the back.

Guevara said he heard his friends “crying and screaming” as more shots rang out.

Daniel Beltron, who was also shot multiple times, collapsed on the stand as he described the shooter shooting Juan Guitron, then putting a gun to Richard Cantu’s head before shooting him.

“It started from the bottom of his head, then I saw a big hole coming out of his head and it landed on my face,” he said, crying.

Guevara said he identified a photo of Keetley to police as the man he saw shooting him and his friends. He said he started “crying and shaking” when he saw the photo of Keetley because he recognized the man from the attack.

Guevara said he told police he was “2,000% sure he was the one who shot me” and named Keetley as his attacker in the courtroom.

The defense argued that the survivors of the shooting had identified the wrong man and that Keetley was not capable of carrying out the attack due to the injuries he suffered when he was shot and robbed months earlier .

“It’s our defence, Michael Keetley is not guilty because he didn’t do it. Michael Keetley didn’t do it, he couldn’t do it. He’s not medically capable,” defense attorney John Grant said at trial.

Richard Escobar, another member of the defense, argued that law enforcement made multiple mistakes after the 2010 attack, saying “the ensuing investigation was nothing short of a nightmare in itself.

The jury found Keetley guilty after deliberating for three days.

Michael Keetley
Michael Keetley, convicted of two counts of murder and four counts of attempted murder in March, will be sentenced on Friday.Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office via AP

Hillsborough County State’s Attorney Susan Lopez said at the time, “Today is about the victims, the six victims and it is the hope and prayer of our office that the verdict of today begins to end the nightmare they all had. live.”

Richard Cantu said the conviction at the second trial meant the world to his family and said he felt “relieved” and at “peace” after the trial. Now he and his cousins ​​have finally gotten “justice,” he said.

Frankie Cantu said the fact that his brother and cousins ​​were targeted in a vigilante and mistaken identity case made the ordeal even more difficult.

“You don’t expect something like this to happen. My family and friends were targeted for no reason,” Frankie Cantu said.

“It’s never going to go away, but finally putting that part to rest,” gave his family hope that they could start moving on, he said.


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