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Killer clown suspect appears in court as attorney seeks more time before trial

Sheila Keen Warren accused of dressing as clown, killing future husband's wife

Sheila Keen Warren sits in a Palm Beach County courtroom during a hearing Jan. 7, 2019, in West Palm Beach, Florida.
Sheila Keen Warren sits in a Palm Beach County courtroom during a hearing Jan. 7, 2019, in West Palm Beach, Florida. (WPBF)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – A woman accused of dressing up as a clown and killing her future husband's wife in 1990 appeared before a Palm Beach County judge Monday morning.

Sheila Keen Warren sat in the courtroom as Palm Beach County Judge Joseph Marx set a status hearing for April.

Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office Detective Paige McCann said during a September 2017 news conference that Sheila Keen, as she was known at the time, was dressed like a clown when she fatally shot Marlene Warren at her Wellington home on May 26, 1990.

"Marlene answered the front door and the clown had two balloons, as well as a bouquet of flowers, and went to hand Marlene those items," McCann told reporters.

Marlene Warren, who had been eating breakfast with her then-22-year-old son and several of his friends, was surprised and commented, "How nice."

"It was at that time that the clown pulled out a gun and shot Marlene in the face," McCann said.

The clown then calmly walked back to the white Chrysler LeBaron in which she had arrived and drove away.

Marlene Warren died at a hospital two days later.

Marlene Warren was fatally shot in the face by a woman who was dressed as a clown in May 1990.
Marlene Warren was fatally shot in the face by a woman who was dressed as a clown in May 1990.

Keen Warren had long been considered a suspect in the shooting, but it took investigators 27 years to make an arrest. She eventually married Michael Warren in 2002 and moved to Tennessee, where the couple operated a restaurant.

In September 2017, Keen Warren was charged with first-degree murder and arrested in Virginia.

The state had initially requested a November trial date, but Keen Warren's attorney said more time is needed.

"This case is so old," defense attorney Richard Lubin said. "The technology in play back then was so different that it makes everything slower and more difficult."

The next hearing has been set for April 17, at which time a trial date is expected to be decided.