Transcript for Person dressed as a clown shoots woman at her front door
??? People were concerned it was a mad, crazy clown. This is not fun and games. That was going to show up at your door and shoot you in the face. It was just bizarre. If someone dressed as a clown knocked on my door, I wouldn't open it. This is real life. What is shocking about it is where it happened, because it happened in Wellington. Reporter: Wellington, Florida. A hidden jewel in the crown of palm beach county, an area synonymous with power and money. The 35th president played here at the Oceanside Kennedy compound. The 45th wines and dines at the legendary mar-a-lago, 126 rooms, 20 acres. You've got the Wellington of the equestrian set where Bruce Springsteen has a house where Bill Gates is building a fiefdom. Reporter: But it's not just celebrities who're doing well in Wellington. So are most other homeowners, get this, many land their own private planes on a 4000-foot runway located smack in the middle of their backyard. The houses were built around a grass airstrip and they all had hangers out back for the owner's planes. We call Sunday sundown. So you take this out every day. I take it about two, three days a week when I got to the office which is 50 miles. Some people have two car garages, you need a three hangar garage. Reporter: Ah life at the aero club, offering the well-heeled an option to arrive in style. But back in 1990, an unexpected visitor descended into aero club in a style like no other. On a Saturday morning in may just before 11:00am, a colorful character, dressed fully as a clown, drives into the non-gated community and heads for an aptly-named street called take off place. The clown car, so to speak, a white Chrysler Lebaron. Inside, a delivery of balloons and a bouquet of flowers. Gifts earmarked for Mrs. Marlene Warren. She was home with her son and several of his friends. "A vehicle pulled up in the driveway," they noticed someone dressed as a clown exit the vehicle and approach the front door. The clown walked to the door. And then Marlene answered the door -- The clown hands her balloons and some flowers, she says oh, how pretty. And I'll still remember this fact to this day, one of the balloons said, "You're the greatest." The clown pulls out a gun and fires at point blank range into Marlene's face. The clown slowly departs. Reporter: And then what? Leaves. Reporter: Jumps in the car -- Yeah, and goes. Reporter: And takes off? That's it. Never to be seen again. Reporter: At the time of the shooting, Marlene's 22-year old son Joe is at the home with friends and gets a brief look at his mom's killer clown. He remembers seeing the clown's brown eyes as the clown got into a white Chrysler Lebaron. Reporter: Neighbor bill Kramer was out walking his dog and remembers a sound. I heard what sounded to me like a nail gun. A gun used in construction to drive nails into hard surfaces. Reporter: The former Navy pilot sees a commotion at back of the home as Joe's friends run for cover. Some very excited young people came running out saying something on the order of, "They've shot Joey's mother." My wife said, "Stay there. I'll call 911." Reporter: The 40-year old mom lingers, but there is no hope. She dies two days later. But why Marlene, a woman neighbor's barely knew? She was a pleasant acting woman. She was friendly. If I'd see her in the parking lot or going down the street, we'd wave and say hello. And that was about the extent of our relationship. Reporter: But those who study crime and construct stories about it, the killer doesn't appear to be a stranger. There was something almost malicious about it. This was a personal crime. It was a very personal kind of crime. This got to be the most recent photograph of Marlene we have got. Reporter: Her still grieving parents say she had no enemies. Marlene was outstanding, friendly, loving, kindness. Do anything for anybody. Always courteous, always respectful. Here's a set of three clowns. Reporter: Eerily, mom Shirley says the family always liked clowns. In fact, here's their "Circus room" in their home. I kind of look at this one right here and say hey, things will turn out all right. I feel he's sad because Marlene was killed. Did you buy these after Marlene was killed? I had them even before. Marlene hauntingly, painted this one as a young girl. This picture here is a painting of a clown. Marlene painted it when she was a teenager -- and I think it's quite a coincidence. And I'll keep it forever, that is for sure. And it's just a shame that somebody took her away from us at 40-years-old. This was taken two, three years before she got murdered. Reporter: She was also taken away from her husband of 18 years, Michael Warren, a self-made man. Confident, that's the word. Very confident about everything. Reporter: But former neighbor John herring says he seemed to be a fish out of water. Reporter: Rough around the edges? A little rough around the edges. Reporter: Were they a part of the community? In the Wellington area, you would -- you knew almost everybody. And you would go to the country club or to the grocery store. Michael wasn't part of that. You never ran into him anywhere. As one guy once described it to me "He had that used car rent-a-wreck kinda personality." Reporter: And an occupation that goes with it. At the time of the murder, Michael Warren was running a used car lot and rental car agency. A lot of the cars were not the best cars to buy. It was one of those places that you went if you had really bad credit and you needed something to drive. Reporter: While Warren doesn't appear to be a guy looking for trouble, somehow, trouble seems to find him. Things were always happening to him. His plane disappeared once. And it shows up somewhere with a broken engine, nobody knows what happened. He had race horses at one point and one horse shows up dead. And the guy said to me "He was that kinda guy." Reporter: While there's nothing in Warren's history to suggest he or anyone in his family, would be the target of murder crime reporters from back in the day sensed something was amiss. Now you're thinking you're just going to cover yet another shooting and then you hear that this is -- police are looking for an assailant who was wearing a costume, not just a costume, a clown costume. It made sense that the murderer the killer had to have known or been associated with the family in some way. Reporter: A family seemingly in crisis. Marlene telling her parents the marriage was rocky, but the family businesses reportedly made things more complex. A lot of the properties that she and Michael, her husband, owned, were in her name, and so if there was ever to be a divorce, it would have been a complicated one. Reporter: The newspapers back then run with speculation Michael may have a mistress -- and there's this curious comment from Marlene to her parents. She said to her parents, "If something happens to me, Michael did it." Reporter: And when something does happen to Marlene, Wellington is on edge. It was the shock of this crime, because all of the sudden, they were betrayed in their sense of, of safety and security.
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