On May 26, 1990, a person dressed as a clown walked to the front door of Marlene Warren’s home just before 11 am and shot her in the face. She died two days later.
The case remained cold until 2014. Then, on September 26 of this year, Sheila Keen Warren, the second wife of Marlene’s husband when she died, was detained. She has been charged with first-degree murder.
According to the Miami Herald, prosecutors say Sheila was holding two balloons and a bouquet of flowers when she approached Marlene’s front door. She handed over one of the balloons and the bouquet before pulling out the gun. Marlene’s son, Joe, then 22, was in the home eating breakfast when the incident occurred.
Tonight, 20/20 will speak with Marlene’s mother and stepfather, Shirley and Bill Twing, along with two women who believe the killer bought the clown costume at their shop.
Read on to learn more about the case and Sheila Keen Warren.
1. Sheila Married Michael Warren in 2002
Michael and Sheila married in 2002 in Las Vegas. According to the Sun Sentinel, they had just sold a drive-thru restaurant called the Purple Cow when they tied the knot. They then moved to a three-bedroom house in Abingdon, Virginia.
Michael believes that his second wife, Sheila, has been falsely accused of his first wife’s murder. Michael was never arrested in connection to Marlene’s death, but he has served time in prison. In 1994, he began a nine-year prison sentence for racketeering, grand theft, and odometer tampering, according to the Miami Herald.
2. Sheila Has Been Charged with First-Degree Murder
According to ABC, detectives identified Sheila Keen as a suspect just one year after Marlene’s death. Without enough evidence to charge her, however, the case went cold.
Advances in technology allowed authorities to reopen the case in 2014 and retest DNA associated with Marlene’s death. A DNA analysis led police to believe that one of their first suspects, Sheila Keen Warren, had been having an affair with Michael, according to WREG.
In August of this year, Sheriff Fred Newman of Virginia received a call from police in Palm Beach County, Florida, who said they were looking for Sheila Keen Warren’s whereabouts. Sheila was arrested on September 27 in Washington County, Virginia, approximately 5 miles from the Tennessee state line. She was charged with first-degree murder for the death of Marlene Warren.
3. Marlene’s Parents Say They Long Suspected Sheila
According to ABC, Marlene Warren’s parents had been suspicious of Sheila for decades. Shirley Twing, Marlene’s mother, tells ABC, “I turned angry when I heard … Mike had married Sheila. Remembering that she killed my daughter, and he marries her? … There’s got to be something there.”
Sheila married her first husband, Richard Keen, in 1987. At the time of Marlene’s death, Sheila was working as a “repo lady”, repossessing cars for Michael Warren’s auto dealership, Bargain Motors. When Sheila and Richard divorced in January 1990, Michael Warren began paying her rent, according to reports from the Sun Sentinel.
4. The Prosecution Is Seeking the Death Penalty
State Attorney Dave Aronberg (the office prosecuting Sheila Keen Warren for murder) tells ABC News that they are seeking the death penalty in Sheila’s case.
Sheila Warren was extradited to Palm Beach County and appeared at her her bond hearing on October 4. The judge did not set a bond for the case. ABC reports prosecutor Brian Fernandes as saying, “There was actually an excellent job of collection of evidence at the time in 1990. And because of that collection, we’re able to now use advances in DNA technology.”
5. She Adamantly Denies Killing Marlene
Sheila is adamant that she had nothing to do with Marlene’s death. Defense attorney Richard Lubin recently told the Associated Press, “Sheila Warren ‘vehemently denies’ killing Marlene Warren and will plead not guilty.”
Shirley Twing, however, seems more confident in Sheila’s guilt. She tells ABC News, “She [Sheila] got away with it for so long… You can’t tell me that he [Mike] didn’t know. No way in heck … if there’s a hell, I hope she rots in it.”
Shirley’s husband, Bill, adds, “Marlene was a good person… And it’s just a shame that somebody took her away from us … Nobody deserves that.”