Convicted ‘collar bomb’ killer dies in prison

Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong, 68, convicted in a collar bomb death during a bank robbery in 2003, died Tuesday at the Federal Medical Center in Carswell, Texas, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Diehl-Armstrong was serving time for a bank robbery plot that resulted in the death of 46-year-old Brian Wells.  In August 2003, Wells, dressed as a pizza delivery man, went into a PNC bank demanding funds, and escaped with $8.702, but was apprehended by police.

He was handcuffed in the street as they waited for the bomb squad, but the bomb exploded, killing him.  Police believe Wells was in on the plot and realized too late that his life was in danger. He was fooled into believing the bomb was a decoy. His family maintains he was a hostage to the bank robbers.

A metal collar was attached to Brian Wells’ neck. [Photo: Public Domain]
At the time of her death, Diehl-Armstrong was serving a life sentence plus 30 years after her conviction in 2010 for armed bank robbery, conspiracy and using a destructive device in a crime of violence for bank robbery.

As the investigation unfolded, it was learned that Diehl-Armstrong acted with three other men.

-William Rothstein, who has since died of cancer, was believed to have constructed the bomb collar using two egg timers. He was a handyman and substitute teacher.

-Kenneth Barnes, 57, who is serving 45 years in prison after pleading guilty. In his testimony against Diehl-Armstrong, he alleged she planned the heist because she wanted to spend the money to     pay him to kill her father over an inheritance dispute.

-A third man, James Roden, 45, was killed by Diehl-Armstrong two weeks before the murder, who claimed it was a crime of passion prompted by his abuse. Diehl-Armstrong had already pled  guilty to this murder and was serving 7 to 20 years. According to U.S. Attorney Marshall Piccinini, he was killed because he was complicit in the upcoming scheme and was threatening to blow the  whistle.

Diehl-Armstrong’s defense attorney, Douglas Sughrue, blames her mental disorders for the incident.  Dielh-Armstrong believed she had been framed.  Last year, a federal appeals court rejected her bid for a new trial.

[Feature Photo: Handout]