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  • Writer's pictureRobin Lyons

Revenge-Seeking Vigilante

Almost one year before the true crime, in this summary, the perpetrator had been a victim of a shooting. After being laid off from his job, he started a mobile ice cream truck business. At the end of a workday, someone in a vehicle flagged him down, so he pulled over, thinking they wanted ice cream. They robbed him, shot him, and left him for dead.


They shot the ice cream man in a leg, his chest, and left arm—damaging his wrist and knuckles. He ended up having limited movement in his dominate hand.


After he had healed as much as was possible, he began investigating his crime. He believed a man nicknamed Creeper was behind the robbery and shooting, which left him permanently disabled.


On Thanksgiving Day, the ice cream man went to a home where he believed Creeper was at. Six men were on the front porch playing cards. At gunpoint, wearing a shirt that said police on it, he asked for Creeper. They told him Creeper wasn’t there. He told them to get on their knees. They complied and then the shooter fired off execution-style shots. He killed two men and injured four.


An informant told the authorities the ice cream man was possibly involved in the Thanksgiving Day shooting. After his arrest, in an affidavit, a woman stated the ice cream man told her he’d pay $1,500 for someone to kill Creeper for him. Another witness told investigators he had police badges and uniforms. Someone else told detectives he’d purchased a gun that was more comfortable for his hands.


During the search at his home, law enforcement found bullet-proof vests, handcuffs, a notebook with Creeper’s real name and address in it. In his backyard was an old vehicle that someone used for target practice. An expert testified that the bullets used at the shooting matched bullets used on the vehicle in his backyard.


A prosecutor involved with the case said,


“The people killed and injured had nothing to do with [the ice cream man’s] robbery. Nor did the man nicknamed Creeper.”


His first trial ended in a hung jury. The survivors testified at trial that the ice cream man was the shooter. He waited twelve years for the conclusion of his case.


A jury at his second trial found the 52-year-old man guilty of two counts of first-degree murder and four counts of attempted murder. The judge sentenced him to life in prison without the possibility of parole.


Source: Florida Supreme Court, Office of the State Attorney, NBC News, Law & Crime, New York Post, The Lakeland Ledger, Court TV

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