After a prosecutor accused her in a court document of failing to report more than $1 million in assets, an Abingdon woman charged in the 1990 death of a Florida woman must pay the state back for court costs.

Shelia Keen–Warren, 56, appeared in a Palm Beach County, Fla., courtroom Friday on a first-degree murder charge. After learning the defense needed more time to prepare for court, the judge also set a trial date for May 29. Originally, the trial was set for January.

The woman, arrested in 2017 near her home in Abingdon, was in the courtroom Friday but spoke only privately to her legal team, according to the Sun–Sentinel newspaper.

“It’s time to get this case tried,” defense attorney Richard Lubin told reporters. “We’re looking forward to it.”

The trial will be held about three decades to the date that Marlene Warren, 40, was gunned down at her front door by a person wearing a clown costume. Keen–Warren, who later married Marlene Warren’s husband, was arrested after more evidence was discovered, prosecutors said.

Judge Joseph Marx also decided Friday to rescind Keen–Warren’s indigent status and ordered her to pay money back to the state for attorney costs.

Keen–Warren was previously declared indigent based on her stating in record that she had no assets and was unable to pay $60,000 of $150,000 in attorney fees.

Assistant State Attorney Brian Fernandes accused Keen–Warren of fraud and said she “falsified” her criminal indigent status application by failing to report a number of assets totaling more than $1 million, according to a motion filed Oct. 28.

“The defendant and her husband have done nothing short of perpetrating a fraud onto the court and the state of Florida,” Fernandes wrote in the motion. “But for the fact that she is being held [without] bond, the state would request heavier sanctions and would pursue criminal prosecution.”

Florida prosecutors noted that Keen–Warren and her husband own a home on South Holston Lake valued at $581,700, plus another home in Kingsport worth $184,800. The couple also owns vehicles and has thousands of dollars in bank accounts.

On Friday, Fernandes said Florida taxpayers had so far paid $694 for Keen–Warren’s defense. She will have to reimburse the state.

A status check hearing is scheduled for Feb. 4, ahead of the May trial. Keen–Warren, who faces the death penalty if convicted, is being held with no bail.

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.

rsorrell@bristolnews.com | 276-645-2531 | Twitter: @RSorrellBHC | Facebook.com/robertsorrelltn

Recommended for you

Load comments