Mon | Dec 11, 2017

Arrest made in killer-clown case after 27 years

Published:Friday | September 29, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw speaks during a news conference to announce the arrest of Sheila Keen Warren, yesterday, in West Palm Beach, Florida.

WEST PALM BEACH, Florida (AP):

On a May morning in 1990, Marlene Warren answered her front door in an upscale Florida suburb to find a clown in an orange wig, red nose and white face paint, handing her carnations and foil balloons.

"How pretty!" she exclaimed.

The clown then pulled a gun, shot Warren in the face and drove away. She died two days later.

Now, almost three decades later, authorities say they have arrested the clown: a woman who, years after the killing, married Warren's husband.

Detectives said advances in DNA technology, combined with evidence gathered decades ago, show Sheila Keen Warren, now 54, was the killer.

At the time of the shooting, she was an employee of Marlene Warren's husband, Michael, at his used car lot. Since 2002, she has been his wife.

She was arrested Tuesday at the home she shared with him in Abingdon, Virginia, and was jailed without bail to await extradition to Florida on first-degree murder charges.

Michael Warren, 65, has not been charged, but detectives refused to rule him out as a suspect and said he was interviewed again Wednesday. He did not immediately return a call to his home on Thursday.

 

STRONGEREVIDENCE

 

Palm Beach County authorities said Thursday the new examination of DNA collected in 1990 gave them what they needed to arrest Sheila Warren, who had been the primary suspect all along. Without it, there might not have been enough evidence to convince a jury, they said.

"You basically get one shot and if you roll the dice and take that chance and she is found not guilty, you never get that chance again," said sheriff's Detective Paige McCann. "Sometimes patience is the best."

Relatives told The Palm Beach Post in 2000 that Marlene Warren, who was 40 when she died, suspected her husband was having an affair and wanted to leave him. But the car lot and other properties were in her name, and she feared what might happen if she did.

She allegedly told her mother, "If anything happens to me, Mike done it."