Woman Convicted in Bizarre, Deadly Bomb Robbery

Elizabeth Field

On November 1, Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong of Erie, Pennsylvania was convicted of participating in an unusual heist where a pizza delivery driver was forced to rob a bank while wearing a metal bomb collar that later exploded, killing him.

The jury convicted Diehl-Armstrong on charges of armed bank robbery, conspiracy, and using a destructive device in a crime of violence for her role in the bank robbery that killed 46-year-old driver Brian Wells. Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong is barred from appeals and will spend the rest of her life in federal prison for her role in the deadly plot.

On August 28, 2003, Brian Wells walked into a PNC bank with a metal collar bomb locked around his neck. He walked out with $8,702 but was stopped by police who called the bomb squad. Though before they arrived, the bomb exploded, killing Wells.

Prosecutors determined that there were five people behind the plotting of this crime, including Wells himself. However, he only learned minutes before the heist that he was the one who would be wearing the bomb collar and committing the robbery. One plotter has since died of cancer and another was killed by Diehl-Armstrong, herself.

The 61-year-old Diehl-Armstrong is already serving seven to 20 years in prison for pleading guilty due to being mentally ill to the murder of yet another man: live-in boyfriend, James Roden.

Well’s family still believes that he was an innocent victim of the crime and was never involved. Brother, John Wells stated that the case was a “circus show trial” and that it would not bring the family any justice or closure.

Another plotter, Kenneth Barnes, pleaded guilty and is serving 45 years in prison. He testified that Diehl-Armstrong planned the heist, because she wanted to use the money to pay Barnes to kill her father.

Despite Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong’s insistent denials, Assistant United States Attorney Marshall Piccinini told the jury that Diehl-Armstrong was involved “up to her eyeballs.”