The shocking and long-standing case of the Killer Clown, involving the murder of Marlene Mae McKinnon Warren on May 26, 1990, reached a significant turning point when Sheila Keen-Warren, the prime suspect, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in April 2023. This case, featured in ABC’s ’20/20: The Case of the Killer Clown’ and CBS’ ’48 Hours: “Murder by Clown’, captivated the nation due to the bizarre circumstances of the crime.
Sheila Keen-Warren’s connection to the Warren family began in the 1980s when she secured a job at Michael Warren’s used/rental car dealership, where Marlene Warren also played a pivotal role. Over time, a relationship between Sheila and Michael allegedly developed, which raised suspicions of infidelity. Marlene contemplated leaving her husband but tragically met her end with a gunshot to the face.
Investigations initially questioned both Michael Warren and Sheila Keen-Warren, but they denied any romantic involvement. Suspicion grew over the years as evidence mounted against Sheila. She was found to have purchased a clown suit in May 1990, the same attire worn by the killer. Additionally, Sheila had bought two distinctive balloons found at the crime scene shortly before the murder.
The getaway car used by the clown was discovered days after the crime, containing evidence such as long brown hairs and orange-like fibers matching those found in Sheila’s home. Despite her subsequent marriage to Michael in 2002, their move to Virginia, and ownership of a restaurant, the case remained unsolved until advances in DNA technology linked her to the crime.
After 27 years, Sheila Keen-Warren was arrested for first-degree murder in 2017 and extradited to Florida. She initially pleaded not guilty but later changed her plea to guilty for the reduced charge of second-degree murder in exchange for a 12-year prison sentence in April 2023.
State Attorney Dave Aronberg commented on the guilty plea, stating, “Sheila Keen-Warren has finally been forced to admit that she was the one who dressed as a clown and took the life of an innocent victim. She will be a convicted murderer for the rest of her days.”
As of the latest update, Sheila Keen-Warren remains in custody at a state facility.