WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — A Florida judge has reluctantly postponed the start of the trial of a woman accused of dressing up as a clown and shooting her lover’s wife to death more than 30 years ago after defense attorneys said they were having difficulty contacting witnesses.
Sheila Keen-Warren’s trial was due to begin on June 3. But on Tuesday, Palm Beach County Judge Scott Suskauer agreed to a stay of up to four months, the Palm Beach Post reported.
Suskauer said he had already cleared his schedule, postponing other trials and hearings, so he could preside over a three-week trial.
“Think of the impact it has had on me. I have a duty to the public,” Suskauer told the attorneys. “There are also the relatives of the victim, who have waited so long for justice.”
This is the sixth time the trial has been postponed.
In May 1990, Marlene Warren answered her door and was shot in the face by a female clown carrying carnations and balloons to her home in Wellington, a West Palm Beach suburb, court documents say.
Sheila Keen, who was rumored to be having an affair with the victim’s husband, Michael Warren, was considered a suspect, but the case against her was weak. Two nights before the murder, a woman went to a costume shop and told clerks that she urgently needed a clown suit, an orange wig, white gloves, a red nose and enough white makeup to completely cover her face. One of the clerks identified Sheila Keen from a series of photos, but the other was not sure.
Sheila Keen later married Michael Warren and they were both living in Virginia when, investigators say, DNA samples provided the evidence that led to her arrest in 2017.