Accused Florida 'Killer Clown' asks judge to ban witnesses, 'irrelevant' evidence of costume purchase

Attorneys for Sheila Keen-Warren, alleged Florida 'Killer Clown,' ask judge to prohibit evidence related to costume purchase

Attorneys for accused "Killer Clown" Sheila Keen-Warren have asked a Florida judge to prohibit prosecutors from making any mention of evidence or witnesses that allegedly show Keen-Warren purchasing a clown costume two day before the murder, arguing that the information is flimsy and "irrelevant," records show. 

Evidence that Keen-Warren was the person who purchased the clown costume from West Palm Beach’s Spotlight Capezio on May 24, 1990, is "irrelevant and unreliable," and would "deprive" her of "her rights to a fair trial and due process," her attorneys argued in a motion filed this week. Store employees said the person bought an orange wig, a "yellow and hot pink" clown suit and a makeup kit, but no mask, two days before Marlene Warren’s broad daylight execution.  

Warren, 40, was shot and killed at her Wellington, Florida, home Saturday, May 26, 1990, officials said. Warren had just finished breakfast with her son and his friends around 10:45 a.m., when they spotted a vehicle roll into the driveway, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office said.

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Photo shows receipt from May, 24, 1990, purchase at Spotlight Capezio in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Photo shows receipt from May, 24, 1990, purchase at Spotlight Capezio in West Palm Beach, Florida. (Motion to Suppress exhibit, Nov. 1, 2022)

A person dressed like a clown exited the vehicle and walked to the home’s front door, police said. 

"The person dressed as the clown was carrying a flower arrangement and two balloons," the sheriff’s office explained. One balloon reportedly bore a picture of Snow White, the other was emblazoned with the words, "You're the Greatest!" 

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Sheila Keen-Warren was accused of dressing up as a clown and murdering her future husband's then-wife 27 years ago.

Sheila Keen-Warren was accused of dressing up as a clown and murdering her future husband's then-wife 27 years ago. (Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office)

"Marlene answered the front door and as the clown offered the items to her, witnesses heard a gunshot and Marlene fell to the ground," police said. "The person dressed as a clown calmly walked back to the LeBaron and drove away." 

Warren suffered a gunshot wound to the face and was rushed to a local hospital, where she died two days later.

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Paramedics take Marlene Warren to an ambulance on May 26, 1990, after she was shot in front of her home in Wellington, Florida.

Paramedics take Marlene Warren to an ambulance on May 26, 1990, after she was shot in front of her home in Wellington, Florida. (Mark Randall/Sun Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

However, defense attorneys argued that witnesses had different descriptions of the clown costume from the one that was purchased at Spotlight. 

"[T]hat clown suit is not the one described by eyewitnesses to Marlene Warren’s murder," they wrote in the motion. One witness "said the clown was wearing a gray jumpsuit, like a mechanic’s uniform," and wore a wig similar to "Bozo the Clown," the motion states. 

Photo shows items purchased on May, 24, 1990, at Spotlight Capezio in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Photo shows items purchased on May, 24, 1990, at Spotlight Capezio in West Palm Beach, Florida. (Motion to Suppress exhibit, Nov. 1, 2022)

Another witness said the clown "was wearing a white clown suit with red hearts or diamonds," while a third described the costume as having "blue dots on it," the attorneys wrote. Both witnesses told police the wig was red, the motion states.

"Absent evidence identifying the Spotlight clown suit as the shooter’s clown suit, the identity of the Spotlight customer is not relevant to prove any material fact in this case," the document states. "In other words, because no witness will identify the items purchased at Spotlight as those worn by the shooter, the State will be unable to "connect up" the preliminary facts related to Spotlight with the ultimate facts of the homicide." 

Police used methods, namely "an unnecessarily suggestive lineup procedure" that created a "likelihood of irreparable misidentification," the motion further states. 

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Additionally, the store employees who identified the woman in a lineup have provided, at times, conflicting information that has been tainted by "unnecessarily suggestive procedures" and "decades of media exposure … and speculation about her involvement," the document continues. 

Photo shows Marlene Warren, who was shot and killed in the entryway of her Wellington, Florida, home in the infamous 'Killer Clown' case of 1990.

Photo shows Marlene Warren, who was shot and killed in the entryway of her Wellington, Florida, home in the infamous 'Killer Clown' case of 1990. (Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office)

The lead prosecutor on the case did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment. 

Police arrested Keen-Warren Sept. 26, 2017, 27 years after Warren’s death.

Investigators learned Keen-Warren, who was married to someone else at the time of the murder, went on to wed Warren’s husband, Michael Warren, in 2002. The pair had been living in Tennessee, where they operated a restaurant, police said. 

Sheila Keen-Warren, right, appears in court for a pre-trial hearing Monday morning, Nov. 13, 2017. Keen Warren is facing charges in the death of Marlene Warren in 1990. 

Sheila Keen-Warren, right, appears in court for a pre-trial hearing Monday morning, Nov. 13, 2017. Keen Warren is facing charges in the death of Marlene Warren in 1990.  (Lannis Waters/Palm Beach Post/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

A grand jury voted on Aug. 31, 2017, to charge Keen-Warren with Marlene Warren’s murder. Police then tracked her to Washington County, Virginia, where they arrested her without incident. She was 54 at the time. 

Keen-Warren’s trial was scheduled to begin last month, before it was delayed for the seventh time. 

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Last week, a judge rejected the defense’s request that Keen-Warren be released pending trial.