WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (WJHL) — A woman has pleaded guilty to murder in the “Killer Clown” case of 1990, court documents show.
Sheila Keen-Warren, arrested in 2017, entered a guilty plea Tuesday to one count of second-degree murder in the death of Marlene Warren in Palm Beach, Florida.
According to the Associated Press (AP), a clown came to Marlene Warren’s door on a May morning in 1990, handed her carnations and balloons and then shot her dead in front of her son. On Tuesday, her husband’s second wife finally pleaded guilty to being the killer, closing a case that is strange even by Florida standards.
Authorities at the time said Warren was fatally shot by a person wearing an orange wig, a red nose, and white face paint who handed her flowers and foil balloons at her South Florida home.
At the time of the shooting, Warren was married to Michael Warren, who employed Keen-Warren at his used car lot. He and Keen-Warren married in 2002 and lived in Virginia where they co-owned a restaurant.
Long suspected of being the shooter, Keen-Warren has been jailed awaiting trial for first-degree murder since 2017, when Palm Beach County sheriff’s investigators said improvements in DNA technology proved that a hair found in the clown’s getaway car came from her.
Keen-Warren has insisted, however, that she is not the killer, and had previously pleaded not guilty to the charge.
In a statement to the AP, Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg said that the plea deal “obtained a measure of justice” for Marlene Warren and her son.
No public notice was given for Tuesday’s plea hearing in West Palm Beach, which otherwise would have drawn a throng of reporters and spectators. Instead, it was handled quietly during Circuit Judge Scott Suskauer’s lunch break from another murder trial.
“Sheila Keen Warren has finally been forced to admit that she was the one who dressed as a clown and took the life of an innocent victim. She will be a convicted murderer for the rest of her days,” Aronberg said.
Her trial was originally scheduled to begin on May 12, 2023.
Keen-Warren was sentenced to 12 years in prison and was given credit for the 2039 days already served, according to court records.