“Murder by Clown”: 48 Hours Reports on Marlene Warren Homicides July 13 2024

The upcoming episode of “48 HOURS: Murder by Clown,” set to air on Saturday, July 13, 2024, at 9:00 PM ET/PT on CBS and streaming on Paramount+, revisits one of the most chilling murder cases in Florida’s history. On May 26, 1990, Marlene Warren was fatally shot at her own doorstep by a person dressed as a clown, carrying balloons and flowers. This tragic event was witnessed by her 21-year-old son, Joe Aherns, leaving an indelible mark on his life.

The Murder of Marlene Warren

On the morning of May 26, 1990, Marlene Warren was at her home in Wellington, Florida, with her son Joe and his friends. A white Chrysler LeBaron pulled into their driveway, and a clown emerged, holding a bouquet and balloons. Marlene, thinking it was a harmless gesture, opened the door. Without warning, the clown pulled out a gun and shot Marlene in the face. The assailant then walked calmly back to the car and drove away. Marlene was rushed to the hospital but succumbed to her injuries two days later.

The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office launched an investigation immediately. They interviewed witnesses, including Joe, who described the clown as tall and skinny with large brown eyes. The investigation revealed that Marlene’s husband, Mike Warren, was in a car with friends heading to a racetrack at the time of the shooting, providing him with an alibi. Despite extensive searches and interviews, the clown and the motive behind Marlene’s murder remained elusive.

Unraveling the Mystery

As investigators dug deeper, they uncovered troubling details about Marlene and Mike Warren’s marriage. Marlene had confided in her son and mother that she suspected Mike was having an affair and feared for her life. Mike Warren was indeed having an affair with Sheila Keen, an employee at his car dealership, Bargain Motors. Witnesses at the dealership confirmed the affair, noting Sheila’s possessive behavior towards Mike.

Detectives traced the flowers and balloons left at the crime scene to a local Publix supermarket. A woman matching Sheila Keen’s description had purchased these items. Additionally, a costume shop clerk identified Sheila as the woman who had bought a clown costume just days before the murder. The investigation also led to the discovery of a white Chrysler LeBaron, which matched the description of the getaway car, containing orange fibers from a clown wig and brown human hair.

The Road to Justice

Despite the circumstantial evidence pointing to Sheila Keen, no arrests were made for decades. In 2013, the case was reopened by a cold case unit, leveraging advancements in DNA technology. Investigators matched the hair found in the getaway car to Sheila Keen, providing a crucial link to the crime scene. By then, Sheila had married Mike Warren, and the couple had relocated to Tennessee, living under new identities.

On September 26, 2017, Sheila Keen-Warren was arrested and charged with first-degree murder. Initially, prosecutors sought the death penalty, but later reevaluated the case and decided against it. Sheila’s defense argued that the evidence was circumstantial and had been poorly handled over the years. After numerous delays, including those caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Sheila accepted a plea deal in 2023, pleading guilty to second-degree murder and receiving a 12-year prison sentence.

The Aftermath

Joe Aherns, who witnessed his mother’s murder, struggled for years with the trauma and grief. He battled alcoholism and drug addiction, finding it difficult to cope with the loss and the lack of justice. Over time, Joe found some peace, focusing on the loving memories of his mother rather than the violent way she was taken from him.

Sheila Keen-Warren’s plea deal, which could see her released as early as 2025, was a controversial resolution to a long and complex case. While some, including Joe Aherns, felt it was better than the risk of an acquittal, others believed it did not provide full justice for Marlene Warren. Sheila, despite her guilty plea, continued to maintain her innocence through her attorney.


The episode “48 HOURS: Murder by Clown” promises to provide a detailed and emotional recounting of the murder of Marlene Warren, the investigation that spanned decades, and the eventual resolution of the case. Viewers will gain insight into the complexities of the investigation, the impact on Marlene’s family, and the legal maneuvers that led to the plea deal. Tune in on July 13, 2024, for this riveting episode.

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Ryan Gill

Ryan is a passionate follower of true crime television programs, reporting on and providing in-depth investigations on mysteries in the criminal world.

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