Killer clown suspect in court as she awaits new trial date
A woman accused of dressing up as a clown and killing her future husband’s wife in 1990 appeared in court Tuesday as attorneys discussed possible new dates for her trial.
Sheila Keen-Warren sat shackled in court for Tuesday's status hearing, which ended without a new trial date.
Her murder trial had been scheduled to begin earlier this month, but it was put on hold indefinitely in May. It's the sixth such delay in the case.
Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Scott Suskauer said he'd like to set a trial date for October or January 2023, at the latest.
"We're obviously hoping for an October court date so we can get Ms. Keen-Warren out, but if not, we'll wait 'til January and we'll get her out then," defense attorney Greg Rosenfeld told WPTV outside the courtroom after the hearing.
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 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 and has been in a Palm Beach County jail cell ever since. Her attorneys were denied a request to have her released from jail while she awaits trial.
"She's a champ," Rosenfeld said of his client. "I mean, she knows she's innocent. We know she's innocent and she's waiting for her day in court."
WATCH: Defense attorney says Sheila Keen-Warren 'ready for her day in court'
Defense attorneys claim that prosecutors concealed a possible suspect to pin the crime on Keen-Warren.
"We have no question that Ms. Keen-Warren did not commit this crime," Rosenfeld said.
Rosenfeld told WPTV that the state has withheld "exculpatory witnesses" beneficial to their defense.
"There's several witnesses the state either did not list or struck," Rosenfeld said. "It's our position that, pursuant to the rules of discovery, they're required to list these witnesses and, conveniently, they're all witnesses that are beneficial to the defense, not to the state."
WPTV's Meghan McRoberts recently spoke to the victim's son, Joe Ahrens, who now lives in Stuart. Ahrens said it's been frustrating waiting for his mother's killer to go to trial.
WATCH: Son of killer clown victim speaks exclusively to WPTV
"So aggravating," he said.
Ahrens recalled being home eating breakfast with his mother when she was killed.
"I just felt my heart and soul just get ripped out of my body," he said.
But Ahrens will have to wait at least a few more months before finding closure that would come with a conviction.
"Ms. Keen-Warren is ready for her day in court and so are we," Rosenfeld said.
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