SUSPECT IN CLOWN MURDER CASE WAIVES SPEEDY TRIAL
WEST PALM BEACH — After 27 years, a judge agreed Monday that a few more weeks won’t make a difference in the “killer clown” murder trial of Sheila Keen-Warren.
Keen-Warren, 54, arrested in September at her home in Virginia, is accused of dressing as a clown and murdering 40-year-old Marlene Warren in Warren’s Wellington Aero Club home in 1990.
Prosecutors have said they plan to seek the death penalty. It’s been at least two decades since a jury imposed a death sentence in state court in Palm Beach County.
In court Monday, defense attorney Richard Lubin waived Keen-Warren’s right to a speedy trial, and Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Samantha Schosberg Feuer set the next status hearing for Jan. 23.
Feuer retained Keen-Warren’s “no bond” status. The judge also agreed to a request by Lubin that Keen-Warren need not be present at status hearings.
Lubin has said Keen-Warren will plead not guilty.
In Monday’s hearing, which lasted about two minutes, Lubin told the judge he recently had received a voluminous batch of documents, both electronically and on paper, from prosecutors as part of the trial’s “discovery” stage and wanted time to digest them.
“Murder cases in general are very complicated. This one is even more complicated and compounded by the age of the case,” Lubin told reporters later. “We just decided to reset it for 60 days and see where we stand. It’s going to take a while. But we’re not going to dawdle.”
Lubin also would not reveal the contents of a lengthy conversation he had right after the hearing with Keen-Warren, sitting in the jury box with other criminal defendants, all clad in blue jail jumpsuits.
Detectives on the cold-case unit at the sheriff ’s office said a new DNA analysis finally got them an arrest warrant for the woman they’d suspected in Warren’s murder for decades.
In the initial investigation, deputies were told Keen-Warren was having an affair with Michael Warren, then Marlene’s husband. Twelve years after the murder, Keen-Warren and Warren were married in Las Vegas.
Authorities have not said whether they’re investigating Michael Warren or if he may face charges in the fatal shooting.
Marlene Warren reportedly told her family that she wanted to leave her husband but that it was complicated because the businesses they ran together — several properties and a used car dealership — were under her name. Her family said she warned them if anything happened to her, her husband had something to do with it.
Sheila Keen-Warren (right) arrives Monday in court for a pretrial hearing in her murder case. She waived her right to a speedy trial in the slaying of a woman 27 years ago.
Marlene Warren was shot to death at her Wellington home in 1990.