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Wife of victim's widower arrested over 1990 'killer clown' murder

Police investigating a murder in 1990 by a "killer clown" have arrested a woman who later married the widower of the victim.

Detectives said advances in DNA technology, combined with evidence gathered decades ago, show Sheila Keen Warren, now 54, was the clown.

At the time of the shooting, she was an employee of Marlene Warren's husband, Michael, at the family's used car park.

Since 2002, she has been his wife.

She was arrested on Tuesday at the home she shared with him in Abingdon, Virginia, and was jailed without bail to await extradition to Florida on first-degree murder charges.

Mr Warren, 65, has not been charged, but detectives refused to rule him out as a suspect and said he was interviewed again on Wednesday.

In 1990, Marlene Warren answered her front door in a well-off Florida suburb to find a clown in an orange wig, red nose and white face paint, handing her carnations and foil balloons.

"How pretty!" she exclaimed.

The clown then pulled a gun, shot Mrs Warren in the face and drove away.

She died two days later.

"You basically get one shot and if you roll the dice and take that chance and she is found not guilty, you never get that chance again," Sheriff's Detective Paige McCann said.

"Sometimes patience is the best."

Witnesses had told investigators in 1990 that Sheila Warren and Mr Warren were having an affair, though both denied it.

Over the years, detectives say, costume shop employees identified Sheila Warren as the woman who had bought a clown costume a few days earlier.

And one of the two balloons, a silver one that read, "You're the Greatest", was sold at only one store, a Publix supermarket near her home.

Employees told detectives a woman who looked like the suspect had bought the balloons an hour before the shooting.

The presumed getaway car was found abandoned with orange, hair-like fibres inside.

The white Chrysler convertible had been reported stolen from Mr Warren's car park a month before the shooting.

Sheila Warren and her then-husband repossessed cars for him.

Relatives told The Palm Beach Post in 2000 that Marlene Warren, who was 40 when she died, suspected her husband was having an affair and wanted to leave him.

But the car park and other properties were in her name, and she feared what might happen if she did.

She allegedly told her mother: "If anything happens to me, Mike done it."

Mr Warren was convicted in 1994 of grand theft, racketeering and odometer tampering and served almost four years in prison.

He and his wife recently sold a popular restaurant in Kingsport, Tennessee, according to the Bristol Herald Courier.

Neighbour Rocky Blevins told the newspaper Sheila Warren is "a great person", and his wife, Brook, said: "It has to be a mistake."


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