PALM BEACH, Fla. — A trial date is set in the case of an Abingdon, Virginia, woman accused of killing a woman in 1990 in Palm Beach County, Florida, while dressed like a clown.

During a hearing on Wednesday, Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Joseph Marx set the trial against Sheila Keen-Warren for Jan. 31, 2020, according to court records.

Keen-Warren was arrested in September 2017 at her residence near South Holston Lake in Washington County on a first-degree murder charge in the death of Marlene Warren.

Marlene Warren was gunned down on May 26, 1990. It took 27 years for police to make an arrest in the case.

Investigators were able to link Keen-Warren to the case through DNA evidence after taking a new look at the death in 2014.

Keen-Warren and her husband were former co-owners of the Kingsport, Tennessee-based Purple Cow restaurant prior to her arrest. The restaurant, on Stone Drive, has been under new management since December 2016. 

Keen-Warren was not in the courtroom for Wednesday’s hearing. She remains held without bail. The state is seeking the death penalty.

Joe Ahrens, Marlene Warren’s son, attended the hearing and then left the courthouse with prosecutors Reid Scott and Brian Fernandes, according to the South Florida Sun Sentinel newspaper, which said he declined comment.

Defense attorney Richard Lubin said it has been challenging to review evidence that is three decades old, the Sun Sentinel reported.

After Wednesday’s hearing, Lubin said he’s seen enough to know there’s nothing directly linking his client to the crime.

“She’s innocent, and that’s all going to come out during the court process,” he told reporters.

The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office said it continues to investigate the case.

Get our Alerts and Breaking News emails

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Recommended for you

Load comments