After Nearly 30 Years, Killer Clown Arrested for Love Triangle Murder

Image via Washington County Sheriff’s Office

On May 26, 1990, a clown carrying flowers and two balloons
showed up on the door step of Marlene Warren’s West Palm Beach
home and fatally shot her in the face. It’s taken 27 years, but
a suspect in the bizarre case has finally been arrested.

Florida is known for crimes so outlandish they wouldn’t make
believable B-horror flicks, but this one in particular is truly
out there. Sheila Keen Warren—who married Marlene’s husband 12
years after her death—was arrested on Tuesday nearly three
decades after she allegedly donned an orange wig and murdered
her rival on the steps of her own home.

“Any murder’s horrific. It doesn’t matter whether you’re
wearing a clown costume or not,” Palm Beach County sheriff’s
Sgt. Richard McAfee said at a news conference.

“Taking another person’s life is a horrific incident. It just
took us 27 years to bring closure to the victim’s family.
Murder cases never go away.”

According to NBC News,
Warren has been a suspect in the case since the beginning,
though new technology has finally allowed prosecutors to retest
DNA evidence previously insufficient to charge her. Warren was
arrested in Washington County on a charge of first degree
murder with use of a firearm.

The details of the story are every bit as alarming now as they
was in 1990. Per an account from the Palm
Beach Post
:

On May 26, 1990, a person dressed in an orange wig with white
face paint parked a white Chrysler convertible in Marlene
Warren’s driveway at 14570 Takeoff Place in Wellington. She
answered the door, walking past her 21-year-old son, Joseph
Aherns, and his friends. The clown handed her red and white
carnations and foil balloons.

“Oh, how pretty,” her son remembered her saying. Aherns spoke
with The Palm Beach Post in 2000.

Without saying a word, the clown pulled out a gun and shot
Marlene Warren in the face. Aherns, who was in cast at the
time from a car crash, said he made his way to his mother and
yelled at the clown, prompting the shooter to turn around.
Aherns didn’t remember what he said, but he remembered the
clown’s brown eyes. After calling 911, he got his keys, got
into a car and tried to find the Chrysler convertible to no
avail. His stepfather, Michael Warren, was on Interstate 95
heading to a casino in Miami.

Authorities initially suspected Michael Warren, the victim’s
husband, who in the course of the investigation was arrested on
various charges related to his car rental agency, including
odometer tampering, grand theft, and racketeering—a side story
that adds an extra soupçon of “what the FUCK” to an
already bananas tale. From NBC:

Michael Warren served three years in prison, and, in 1997, he
vanished. But he re-emerged in 2002, marrying Sheila Keen —
the same Sheila Keen Warren who’s now charged with his
ex-wife’s murder. Sheila had worked for Michael repossessing
cars.

Police have not revealed whether he was involved in his former
wife’s death, although detectives did connect the Chrysler to
Warren’s car business, inside finding orange fibers—similar to
those found on an orange clown wig—and brown hair.

Real clowns can’t catch a break.

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