Prosecutors to seek death penalty for killer clown suspect

Sheila Warren returns to Palm Beach County to face murder charge

By Peter Burke - Local10.com Managing Editor

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Sheila Warren returned to Palm Beach County late Tuesday night, 27 years after investigators claim she fatally shot a woman whose husband would eventually become her own.

Warren was booked into the main county jail, one week after her arrest in Washington County, Virginia. She is charged with first-degree murder in the May 26, 1990, shooting of Marlene Warren.

Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office Detective Paige McCann said Sheila Warren was dressed like a clown when she killed the woman at her Wellington home.

Sheila Warren PBSO mug

Sheila Warren, pictured here after being booked into the main Palm Beach County jail, is accused of fatally shooting her husband's then-wife while dressed like a clown in 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 last week.

The Wellington woman, 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, fatally shot by clown in 1990

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

Investigators had long considered Sheila Warren to be a suspect in the shooting, but they spent 27 years building their case.

McCann said it had been rumored that Sheila Warren and the victim's husband were having an affair.

Sheila Warren -- 26 at the time and then known as Sheila Keen -- eventually married Michael Warren in 2002 and the couple moved to Tennessee, where they operated a restaurant.

A Palm Beach County grand jury was presented the evidence in August and returned an indictment against Sheila Warren, leading to her arrest.

Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg was in the courtroom Wednesday morning when prosecutors announced they would seek the death penalty.

"My office is committed to pursuing justice for the victim, Marlene Warren," Aronberg said in a statement. "I have made this decision in consultation with our death penalty committee, which carefully reviewed the statutory aggravating and mitigating factors under Florida law."

Sheila Warren's defense attorney, Richard Lubin, said his client denies the allegation.

She is being held without bond. A judge also ordered that she not have any contact with her adult son, who was in the house when his mother was killed.

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