Death penalty could be sought in 1990 “killer clown” case

Sheila Keen-Warren's booking photo at the Southwest Virginia Regional Jail in Abingdon, VA (Source: SWVRJA)

WASHINGTON COUNTY, VA (WJHL) – We’re learning new details about the accused “killer clown” arrested in Washington County, Virginia earlier this week.

Sheila Keen-Warren of Abingdon is charged with first degree murder after investigators say she dressed up as a clown, went to Marlene Warren’s home in Florida and shot her.

This is a crime that happened 27 years ago.

The Palm Beach County Sheriff, the State Attorney in Florida, and the lead detective in the case held a news conference Thursday morning.

As of Thursday afternoon, Keen-Warren was still jailed in Abingdon, but when she is taken back to Florida she could possibly face the death penalty in this case.

Marlene Warren’s mother and step-father spoke out about her death.

27 years is a long time, especially if you’re waiting for justice for a loved one.

They say the first two years after her death were very hard.

“You do something and it jogs a memory and it brings it forward,” said her step-father Bill Twing.

In 1990, Marlene was shot by a clown that came to her door and she died two days later.

Detectives say Sheila Keen-Warren was rumored to be having an affair with the victim’s husband and married him 12 years later.

On Tuesday, 27 years later, investigators arrested her for the crime not far from her home in Abingdon, Virginia.

“We did so approximately 5:30 at a location on Good Hope Road here in Washington County,” said Sheriff Fred Newman of the Washington County, Virginia Sheriff’s Department.

Sheriff’s detectives in Florida say advances in DNA technology led to the arrest.

“It was these technological advances that helped crack this case and hopefully will bring justice to the family of Marlene Warren,” said State Attorney for Palm Beach County, Dave Aronberg.

Detective Paige McCann for the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office agreed.

“We just needed a few of those little pieces of the puzzle and we were able to do that with the new technologies in DNA and we were able to complete the puzzle and I think that’s what led to the indictment,” she said.

Keen-Warren has been indicted for first degree murder with a firearm.

“The potential penalty in the case is life in prison and potentially the death penalty. An announcement on whether or not the death penalty will be sought will not be until the defendant is returned to the jurisdiction,” Aronberg said.

Now, Marlene Warren’s family is hoping to see a conviction.

“I’m so elated that it happened, that they got somebody. But now they’ve got to push it and finish it and go for that oak hammer on the desk,” Twing said.

Florida authorities have up to ten days from her arrest to pick Keen-Warren up from the Southwest Virginia Regional Jail in Abingdon.

Copyright 2017 WJHL. All rights reserved.

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