Woman in Florida’s 'killer clown' case pleads guilty to killing her husband's wife over 30 years ago
04/26/2023 1:38 pm PDT
PALM BEACH, Fla. (TCD) -- A 59-year-old woman at the center of a notorious 33-year-old case in Florida pleaded guilty this week to murder even though she maintains her innocence.
On Wednesday, April 25, Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg announced the news that Sheila Keen-Warren entered the plea for second-degree murder, stating, "After years of professing her innocence, 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."
He added, "She will be a convicted murderer for the rest of her days."
The South Florida Sun Sentinel reports Keen-Warren’s long-awaited trial was scheduled to begin in about two weeks. If convicted in a trial, she would have faced up to life in prison. The Palm Beach County State’s Attorney’s Office initially sought the death penalty for her but walked it back in 2020, WPTV-TV reports.
According to the South Florida Sun Sentinel, Keen-Warren’s attorney said her plea agreement was "an incredibly difficult decision to make, just having to plea to a crime you didn’t commit."
The attorney, Greg Rosenfeld, called the trial a "gamble," adding, "When you’re looking at going home in 10 months versus the risk of what could happen at trial, you never know. It’s a huge win for our client."
A judge sentenced her to 12 years in prison with five years of time served, though her attorney argued Keen-Warren could be home in a matter of months.
Keen-Warren’s charges and accusations relate to the 1990 slaying of Marlene Warren. According to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, on May 26, 1990, Warren was at home with her 22-year-old son and his friends when a white Chrysler LeBaron pulled into her driveway. A person dressed as a clown carrying flowers and balloons went to the front door, and Warren answered it.
The Sheriff’s Office said the clown handed Warren the items, then shot her. The clown "calmly walked back to the LeBaron and drove away."
Warren was shot in the face and died two days later.
Investigators identified Keen-Warren as the suspect at the time but did not arrest her.
The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office Cold Case Unit reopened Warren’s case in 2014. Detectives learned Keen-Warren married Warren’s husband in 2002, and the two lived in Tennessee. The case went to a grand jury in 2017, which led to a first-degree murder indictment.
Investigators arrested Keen-Warren Sept. 26, 2017, in Virginia.
- Palm Beach State Attorney's Office Twitter
- 'God be with her': Decades-old, notorious 'killer clown' case comes to an end with unexpected guilty plea - South Florida Sun-Sentinel
- Killer-Clown Case: State of Florida won't seek death penalty against Sheila Keen-Warren, 2/4/2020 - WPTV
- Detectives Receive True Bill (First Degree Murder) for 27 yr. old COLD CASE – Clown Murder, 9/26/2017 - Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office
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