After 27 years, authorities arrested Sheila Keen-Warren for the 1990 killing of Marlene Warren by an assailant disguised as a clown. Warren answered the door to someone dressed as a clown who handed her balloons and flowers, then pulled out a gun and shot her in the face. Marlene Warren died at the hospital 2 days later.
Sheila Keen became a suspect when authorities found out she was having an affair with Marlene’s husband, Michael. She eventually married him, but no arrest was made for decades.
In 2014, new DNA evidence was uncovered by modern technology that tied Sheila Keen-Warren to the crime. She was arrested in Virginia in 2017, still married to Michael Keen. The case has been pending since then, but was scheduled to go to trial in the coming weeks.
Mrs. Keen-Warren will be sentenced to 12 years in prison, with some 6 years of credit since her arrest. The charge was under the old guidelines, and before the rule that requires prisoners to serve 85% of their sentences, so she has completed a substantial portion of her sentence. She will likely be out in less than 2 years. Her attorneys insist that she still claims innocence, but accepted the deal to avoid the risk of trial. With as much credit, and imminent release, the plea agreement makes a lot of sense for her. While she may protest her innocence, she has now plead guilty and been convicted of the offense. The family finally has closure.
A former prosecutor has revealed that the Office of the State Attorney of the Second Judicial Circuit had an explicitly racist policy published to assistant prosecutors there. The policy, which was printed in a memo and posted in the Jefferson County prosecutor’s office, explicitly directed prosecutors to seek harsher penalties when the Defendants for No Valid Driver’s License charges were “Hispanic.”
It’s shocking for the office to have such a policy, and even more shocking they actually wrote it up and printed it out. The elected prosecutor likely did not know about it, this was posted in one of the branch offices of a 6-county circuit, but it is still appalling that such a document existed. The optics are particularly bad where the prosecutors in the office are all white.
The article does not contain a direct response from the prosecutors office regarding the allegations, though elected State Attorney Jack Campbell has argued against stereotyping. Sadly, the actions of his office to not match his words on the matter.
Former ASA Mackenzie Hayes, who revealed the policy, shortly left the 2nd Circuit SAO.
Jury selection is set to start today for Wisner Desmaret, who is charged with First Degree Murder in the killing of Fort Myers Police Officer Adam Jobbers-Miller in 2018. Jobbers-Miller was responding to a complaint, when he was allegedly tackled by Desmaret, who took his firearm and fatally shot him. The State is seeking the Death Penalty on the case. Desmaret fired his attorney, and will be representing himself at the trial. Desmaret has a documented mental health history — he’s had prior criminal cases in which he was found incompetent to stand trial, and subsequently received treatment. His competency has been evaluated in this case, but he has been found competent to stand trial.
It should be noted that competency, his ability to appreciate the charges and comport himself in court, is different from the defense of insanity. Insanity is a mental disease defect so extreme that at the time of the offense, the defendant could not understand what he was doing or could not understand that what he’s doing was wrong. It’s a difficult defense, as individuals are presumed innocent, and as an affirmative defense, the burden is on the Defense to prove the insanity by clear and convincing evidence.
While prior counsel filed a notice that they intended to use insanity as a defense, citing schizophrenia and abnormal brain scans, Desmaret may not use that defense now that he’s representing himself for the trial. At a pretrial conference last week, Desmaret in discussing the case raised some issues that he may argue at trial, and they were kind of all over the place. At one point he discussed a lack of certain DNA evidence, suggesting an identification defense, at other times talking about police violence, suggesting a justifiable use of force defense. Then he made some comments suggesting a conspiracy theory about them wanting to harvest his blood. It won’t be clear what he argues as his defense until the trial gets going, and with his addled brain, it may not become clear.
Jury selection is slated to start today. The trial should take several weeks, possibly two or three, but maybe several, depending on how things go.