WEST PALM BEACH, Florida — A bizarre cold-case murder in which a cold-blooded killer dressed in a clown suit gunned down a woman as she opened her front door 27 years ago has finally been solved, police said.
The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s office says Sheila Keen Warren, 54, has been arrested in Virginia on first-degree murder charges in the 1990 slaying of 40-year-old Marlene Warren at her Florida home.
In 2002, Michael Warren, Marlene’s widower, married Sheila, who had worked for his car rental agency at the time of the shooting.
Detectives say Sheila Warren had been a suspect from the beginning, but they had never been able to pin her to the crime until advances in DNA technology allowed them to test old evidence and reopen the case in 2014.
“Any murder’s horrific. It doesn’t matter whether you’re wearing a clown costume or not,” Palm Beach County sheriff’s Sgt. Richard McAfee said.”It just took us 27 years to bring closure to the victim’s family. Murder cases never go away.”
Cops say that on the morning of May 26, 1990, Marlene was home with her son and his friends when a white Chrysler LeBaron pulled up and a person dressed as clown holding balloons got out and rang the doorbell.
When she opened the door, the clown pulled out a gun and shot her in the face. Marlene Warren died two days later.
Suspicion initially focused on Marlene’s husband, Michael, with whom she had been having marital problems. The investigation later revealed detectives to discover unrelated crimes at Michael Warren’s car rental business and in 1992 he was sentenced to prison for grand theft, odometer tampering and racketeering. He served three years.
After his release, he married Sheila Warren and the couple opened a restaurant in Tennessee. Upon reopening the case in 2014, detectives re-interviewed witnesses and re-examined DNA evidence and were able to secure a grand jury indictment late last month.
Sheila Warren was taken into custody without incident in Virginia, police said.