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Killer clown suspect won't be released from jail while awaiting trial

Judge says state's evidence sufficient in pending murder trial for Sheila Keen-Warren
Sheila Keen-Warren mugshot from October 2017
Posted at 11:52 AM, May 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-05 11:52:45-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A woman accused of dressing up as a clown and killing her future husband's wife will remain in jail while she awaits trial.

Palm Beach County Judge Scott Suskauer ruled last week that the state's evidence in the case against Sheila Keen-Warren "satisfies the burden of proof."

Defense attorneys filed a motion earlier this year asking for a bond so that Keen-Warren could be released until her murder trial.

Keen-Warren faces a first-degree murder charge in connection with the May 26, 1990, death of Marlene Warren at her Wellington home.

Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office Detective Paige McCann said during a September 2017 news conference that Sheila Keen, as she was known at the time, was dressed like a clown when she fatally shot Warren.

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

Warren, 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.

Warren died at Palms West Hospital two days later.

Keen-Warren had long been considered a suspect in the shooting, but it took investigators 27 years to make an arrest. She eventually married Michael Warren in 2002 and moved to Tennessee, where the couple operated a restaurant. She was arrested in Virginia in 2017.

Defense attorneys argued that Keen-Warren is an "innocent woman" who poses no flight risk and should be on house arrest until her trial.

But Suskauer wrote in his April 29 order that, while the state's evidence "is almost entirely circumstantial, circumstantial evidence is sufficient if it can exclude a defendant's reasonable hypothesis of innocence."

Suskauer went on to say that the motion was denied because of the "nature of the circumstances," the "weight of the evidence" against her, the fact that she "has access to financial resources that would allow her to flee the jurisdiction" and her "previous conviction for a crime of dishonesty."