FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Prosecutors say they can no longer pursue the death penalty in the forthcoming trial of Sheila Warren in the murder case of South Florida three decades later.
"My office is undergoing a reassessment," Assistant District Attorney Reed Roth said Tuesday.
The prosecutor did not elaborate on the reasons, but said a final ruling would be made on time, scheduled for February 20. The judge could then find out whether it was realistic for the jury to begin May 29.
Warren, 56, is charged with first-degree murder on May 26, 1990, in the death of Marlene Warren, 40, of Wellington, Fla.
According to witnesses and investigators, the victim opened the door and greeted a man wearing an orange wig, a red lamp nose, gloves and white makeup. The clown holding two balloons and a flower in one hand and a pistol in the other held a bullet to Warren's face.
Twelve years after the shooting, Warren's husband, Michael, married Sheila Warren in Las Vegas. The couple settled in southwest Virginia, near the Tennessee border and operated a restaurant together.
Cold-blooded detectives say new DNA evidence led to the verdict of the 2017 Warren Jury verdict, which was a unique person of interest shortly after the murder. Palm Beach State's Attorney Dave Aronberg then said his office would seek the death penalty.
Defense attorney Richard Lubin said his client wants the judge to know that after more than two years he has grown tired of waiting in jail and no longer wants to delay the proceedings.
"Sheila would like to try this case, and we would all be like that," she said, later telling reporters that she never thought it was a death sentence.
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