Fla.'s killer clown trial tentatively set for November

Sun Sentinel (TNS)
LOGO arrest

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The accused killer clown of Wellington is tentatively scheduled to stand trial in November, 29 years after she is accused of dressing up as a clown and shooting her lover’s wife in the face on her doorstep.

A Palm Beach County judge on Monday set a tentative November trial date for Sheila Keen-Warren, accused of the 1990 murder of her husband’s former wife.

On May 26, 1990, Marlene Warren, 40, was shot in the face by a clown carrying balloons with a bouquet of carnations arranged in a white basket.

Keen-Warren has pleaded not guilty. Her attorney, Richard Lubin, said it’s unlikely a trial could take place by November, which he said is too soon for the voluminous research by the defense that remains to be done.

“November is unrealistic,” Lubin said. “We won’t be able to finish our work before then.”

After the murder, investigators began hearing rumors that Warren’s husband, Michael, owner of Bargain Motors in West Palm Beach, was having an affair with Sheila Keen, the estranged wife of one of the men who worked for Warren repossessing cars from people who failed to make payments.

Within days of the murder, the Publix clerks who sold the flowers and balloons – and the costume store employees who sold the clown suit – all picked Sheila Keen’s picture out of a photo lineup. Police even found the Chrysler LeBaron believed to be driven by the clown parked outside a supermarket eight miles from the Warren home. A later search of the vehicle turned up orange fibers from a wig and several strands of long brown hair.

In May 1991, a detective declared there was enough evidence to make an arrest. But state attorneys were concerned there was not enough physical evidence for a successful prosecution.

In 2002, Michael Warren married Sheila Keen in Las Vegas. They moved to Tennessee, then later to Virginia.

In 2013, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office formed a task force to re-investigate the case. DNA tests conducted decades earlier were not conclusive, but with improved technology, lead detective Paige McCann ordered new tests by an FBI lab.

On Sept. 26, 2017, law enforcement officials caught up with Sheila Keen-Warren and her husband as they were driving home to Virginia from a trip to Vermont and arrested her, according to the arrest report.

Keen-Warren faces the death penalty if convicted.