Amy Beth Bennett, South Florida Sun-Sentinel via Associated Press
Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw speaks during a news conference to announce the arrest of Sheila Keen Warren, Thursday, Sept. 28, 2017, in West Palm Beach, Fla., Sheriff’s detectives say advances in DNA technology led to the arrest in connection with the 1990 fatal shooting of a Florida woman by an assailant dressed as a clown. Bradshaw said that without the advances, detectives would not have been able to conclusively tie Sheila Keen Warren to the slaying of Marlene Warren.
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — 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 have made an arrest in the slaying: 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 clown.
At the time of the shooting, she was an employee of Marlene Warren’s husband, Michael, at the family’s 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. A phone number for him could not be found.
Sheriff’s Detective Paige McCann, who headed the investigation, and Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw said Thursday it was the new examination of DNA collected in 1990 that allowed them to arrest Sheila Warren, who had been the primary suspect since the shooting. 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…