A killer clown has been arrested for allegedly shooting dead a woman at her front door while dressed as a clown and carrying flowers and two balloons over 27 years ago.

Sheila Keen Warren, 54, was arrested without incident on a charge of first-degree murder with use of a firearm in the 1990 killing of Marlene Warren, 40, - the suspect's husband's first wife - in Washington County, Virginia.

"Thousands of man-hours have been put in in the last 27 years," Washington County Sheriff Fred Newman said at a news conference Tuesday.

"We're more than glad to be able to help to bring this to a successful conclusion."


Warren was arrested about five miles from the Tennessee state line in Abindon, Virginia, according to the Washington County Sheriff's Office.

The woman had been a suspect for the murder early on but there was never enough evidence to charge her, the MailOnline reported.

This changed, after the cold case was reopened in 2014, when new technology allowed for prosecutors to retest DNA evidence.

Marlene Warren was shot in the face when she answered the front door of her home in Wellington, Florida.

Authorities say she was confronted by a brown-eyed woman carrying balloons and wearing a clown costume with an orange wig on May 26, 1990.

On the balloons, one of them said "You're the greatest!" while the other had Snow White painted on it, according to news coverage at the time.

Marlene Warren was murdered in 1990. Photo / Supplied
Marlene Warren was murdered in 1990. Photo / Supplied

"This is the strangest thing I've seen in all my 19 years in law enforcement," Bob Ferrell, then a spokesman for the Palm Beach County sheriff's office, told the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel newspaper the day after the murder.

She went to the door, and there was somebody wearing a clown suit and a clown mask.


"As she went to take the flowers and balloons, the clown shot her. As far as I know, nothing was said."

Michael Warren, her husband, was initially believed to be the suspect as friends and family said that the two had been having marital problems.

In 1992, he was sentenced to prison on 43 counts of odometer tampering, grand theft and racketeering after digging done by investigators for the murder showed foul play at his car rental agency, according to The Palm Beach Post at the time.

Michael served three years in prison and then seemingly vanished in 1997. In 2002, he resurfaced, marrying Sheila Keen. She had worked for Michel repossessing cars.

Newman said that Michael Warren was present when his wife was arrested.

As early as four months after the murder, detectives were informed of the affair between Michael and Sheila.

Warren had even gone as far to pay for Keen's rent after she separated from her first husband.

The duo were said to be running a restaurant in Tennessee when Sheila was arrested but there was none found in business registries under their names.

Officials said that Sheila Warren will be arraigned Wednesday in Washington County General District Court and she is being held pending extradition to Florida at the Southwest Virginia Regional Jail.