Although she has admitted to donning a clown costume and shooting her husband’s ex-wife to death at the victim’s Florida home more than 30 years ago, the woman’s attorney continues to claim she is innocent.
In a Palm Beach County courtroom on Tuesday, Sheila Keen Warren, 59, admitted to second-degree murder as part of a plea agreement reached weeks before the start of her trial. She was detained in 2017 on suspicion of killing Marlene Warren in 1990 after she opened the front door of her Wellington home and was shot in the face. Warren passed away two days later.
During her court appearance on Tuesday, Keen Warren changed her plea from not guilty to guilty. Although Keen Warren’s lawyer, Greg Rosenfeld, told reporters outside the courtroom that he anticipates her returning home in 10 months, the plea agreement calls for a 12-year sentence. She was facing a life sentence if found guilty.
Keen Warren, who has been detained since her arrest, will be given credit for 2,039 days of her sentence, according to Judge Scott Suskauer, who approved the agreement.
Rosenfeld called the plea “a big win for our client” — while continuing to deny her guilt in the shocking crime.
Saying you did something that you didn’t do was extremely difficult for our client to decide, Rosenfeld said. Nothing is harder than that, in my opinion.
“Our client wanted to go home,” he continued.
Prosecutors presented evidence at the hearing that they would have used in court to support their claims that Keen Warren was responsible for the fatal shooting on May 26, 1990. This evidence included statements from witnesses at a nearby costume shop who claimed that Keen Warren had purchased a clown costume and wig just two days prior to the incident.
Reid Scott, an assistant state’s attorney for the Palm Beach County, claimed that witnesses present inside the residence at the time of the shooting saw “a clown come to the front door, hand Miss Warren balloons and flowers before shooting her in the face,” then leave in a white Chrysler LeBaron.
Four days later, a white Chrysler LeBaron with “trace evidence,” including long brown human hairs and what law enforcement officials “described as artificial orange-like fibers,” was discovered in a Winn-Dixie parking lot. Similar fibers were discovered at the time during a search of Keen Warren’s home, he claimed.
According to the prosecution, Keen Warren was a repossession agent at the time of the murder and would seize vehicles for the victim’s husband, who ran a used car and rental company.
According to the prosecution, Keen Warren and the victim’s husband, Michael Warren, later got married and acquired a restaurant in Tennessee. Until Keen Warren’s arrest in 2017, the two resided in Abingdon, Virginia.
She “would lead a jury to find her guilty of the crime,” according to the case’s facts, according to Reid.
Keen Warren and her lawyer both said no when the judge asked if they were aware of any tangible evidence that might exonerate the defendant.
According to authorities, Joseph Ahrens, Warren’s son, was at home during the shooting. He informed Judge Suskauer that he accepted the conditions of the plea agreement.
Ahrens addressed the court remotely and said, “The only thing I want to say is, throughout this trial, I didn’t see any remorse.
“God be with her,” he remarked.
In 2014, the homicide investigation was restarted by the Cold Case Unit of the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office. Authorities claimed they had established probable cause to link Keen Warren to the murder after speaking with witnesses and performing additional DNA testing. A true bill for first-degree murder was later issued by a grand jury one month prior to her arrest in September 2017.