31 Dec Evil Genius: Episode 2
As Bill Rothstein meets with the police in regards to the corpse in his freezer, we learn more about who Bill Rothstein and Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong are and their relationship to the body.
As the police go and retrieve the body in Rothstein’s house, they find it strange that Rothstein’s house is extremely close to where Brian Wells delivered the pizza and was placed a collar bomb on his neck. The police and FBI start to think that these two cases are related.
Turns out, the dead body in the freezer was Diehl-Armstrong’s boyfriend, James Roden. The police are now tasked with finding out who killed Roden and why he was in a freezer in Rothstein’s house. Rothstein states that Diehl-Armstrong killed Roden in her home and called Rothstein to help her get rid of the body. Rothstein then brought the body to his house and stored it in his freezer while they figured out what to do with the body. It was only when Rothstein had cold feet about the whole situation that he made the police aware of what was happening. Meanwhile, Diehl-Armstrong was proclaiming her innocence to anyone who would listen.
Rothstein was being extremely cooperative with the police, showing them around his house and where he kept the body. He also gave them a tour of Diehl-Armstrong’s house, recounting his steps and what he found when she called for help. As a result of this cooperation, during the trial, Rothstein was given a much lighter sentencing and Diehl-Armstrong was arrested for the murder of Roden.
Diehl-Armstrong kept on denying any wrongdoing when it came to Roden. Instead, she kept on dropping hints that the police should look into Rothstein about the “collar bomb” case. Rothstein’s health was quickly deteriorating and was later learned that he was dying of cancer. In a last ditch effort, the police went to go visit Rothstein on his deathbed to ask him once again if he had anything to do with the Brian Wells case. Once again, Rothstein denied being involved. Soon after, Rothstein died, succumbing to the cancer. Once Rothstein was out of the picture, it did not take long for Diehl-Armstrong to admit what happened with Roden. In her own words, they had an argument about another woman and Diehl-Armstrong ended up shooting Roden in the head with a shotgun. Having a history of bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses, Diehl-Armstrong was going for the insanity plea.
So, what is the relationship between Rothstein and Diehl-Armstrong? It turned out to be a situation with two people who have a lot of history. Diehl-Armstrong and Rothstein met many, many years ago and from the moment Rothstein met Diehl-Armstrong, he was completely head over heels in love. It did not take long for Rothstein to propose to Diehl-Armstrong. But, the relationship was rocky at best and the engagement was called off. In Diehl-Armstrong’s opinion, Rothstein was completely obsessed with her and if he could not have her then no one could.
With many questions left unanswered partly due to the death of Rothstein, questions were still arising in the involvement of Rothstein and Diehl-Armstrong in the Brian Wells case. They were not identified as persons of interest by the polcie for the “collar bomb” case but many people had a sneaking suspicion that there was more than met the eye.
-[man] 911 Emergency.
-[Rothstein] Yes, this is Bill Rothstein.
Did you happen to pick up
Marjorie Diehl from 8645 Peach Street?
[Morgan] Mr. Rothstein, we are looking
into that right now as we speak.
-[Rothstein] Do you have her there?
-[Morgan] No, we don’t have her just yet.
[Morgan] When I was working a desk shift,
a PCO that was at the other terminal
received a phone call.
And she said the name
of the caller was a Bill Rothstein.
That name did ring a bell.
I do know a Bill Rothstein.
Mr. Rothstein, I think I know you.
This is Trooper Morgan.
[Rothstein] You do, you do.
I know who you are.
[Morgan] The way that I knew Bill was
he was the best man
in an in-law’s wedding.
A bit of an eccentric,
a little bit of a character.
Thinks he’s smarter than the average guy.
Tell me what’s going on here, Bill.
-Somebody’s in the freezer?
[Morgan] Do we know who this is?
Uh… It’s her boyfriend/ex-boyfriend,
and I guess because he’s passed away
he’s gonna be ex-boyfriend.
[Morgan] And you are,
you’re afraid of Marjorie, right?
She is extremely intelligent.
Manipulates people. Oh, yes!
[Rothstein] You know
what manic-depressives are?
[Rothstein] That’s what she is.
Bipolar swings very quickly,
one way or the other.
He said, “Okay, Ron, uh,
you’ve gotta go to my house.
Marjorie’s in the house. Get her.
There’s a body in a freezer in the garage.
She killed this guy.
She wants me to put his body,
his frozen body in a wood chipper.
I can’t do that. Go get her.”
I’ll tell you what would help out,
if you came on station
and told us what you knew right here.
Because, first of all, you’d be safe here.
[Rothstein] All right,
I’ll be over shortly.
We had talked about it,
and there was no doubt in our mind
this had to do with Brian Wells.
That’s where he delivered the pizza.
Now we got a dead body in the freezer.
I remember at one point in time thinking:
“This is odd, this is all happening
right around Bill’s house.
No way Bill could be involved.
He’s not that type of guy.”
[man] Uh, on camera Mr. William Rothstein.
-And, uh… You’re age 59?
[man] All right.
You initiated calls to the state police,
could you explain what that was all about?
Okay, that was basically, uh…
There was a person I had known
since the late ’60s, early ’70s,
used to date.
She had a body in her house
that she wanted removed.
[man] When she told you,
you must have asked what happened.
She said that she murdered him.
It was a dark and stormy night.
At exactly 9:00, I received a phone call
from the barracks.
They were advised that a body was in
I was advised to come in,
to lead the investigation into that.
We prepared to go in.
I asked the other guys to stay out.
I wanted to go in and assess the situation
before anybody else comes in there.
I walked into the garage.
Had to make a pathway to get through
all the junk in my way.
As I’m going down
the one pathway in the garage,
I looked over to my, uh, left.
With all the junk there,
I saw a large tarp
hanging from the ceiling to the floor.
I got to the tarp, pulled it back,
and there was the freezer.
Once I saw the freezer,
I opened the freezer up,
saw the body in there, and the body was
wrapped like a side of beef.
Closed the freezer back off.
Went back into the house.
Marjorie Diehl was sitting on the bed,
ranting because we were there.
And she wanted us to leave.
At that time, I placed her under arrest,
told the guys to cuff her.
She was saying that Bill killed this guy.
And she had nothing to do with it.
[Morgan] She was placed in the back
of my marked unit.
One of the most difficult things
to handle was,
this woman probably hadn’t bathed
in a matter of days or weeks.
Summer was– It was warm.
I had the air conditioning on.
But it wasn’t helping any.
And it was probably a 10-to-15-minute ride
back to the barracks.
Took her into the, uh, interrogation room.
And Bill Rothstein is a filthy liar
that’s gonna get sued.
[Morgan] When Marjorie comes out
and you first see her…
the mumbling to herself.
They’re gonna get
a negligence suit filed by me from
my jail cell if necessary.
[Morgan] As law enforcement,
you’re not looking
and seeing a dangerous person to you.
You’re seeing this is somebody who there’s
probably mental health issues involved.
[Timon] I entered the home, which I’m sure
everyone at some point’s seen Hoarders.
This was Hoarders times ten.
I was directed to a, uh,
small meat freezer.
And, uh, that’s where
Mr. Roden’s body was.
He was wrapped up
in a semi-fetal position.
So, it was really–
And he was froze solid.
You were thinking to yourself,
“This is weird. [chuckles]
Is this gonna keep going?
When will it end?”
[man] How long have you known
I’ve known her roughly 30, 35 years.
[man] How did you hear
from Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong
about a problem she had concerning
this, uh, deceased person?
She called me the night
or the morning that it happened.
She came over to my house.
And she said that…
Or somehow she indicated
that Jim was dead.
I think she probably asked for help.
And I know she went into histrionics.
Which is basically like:
She leaned back in the chair and said:
“Nobody can help me.
You’re the only one who can help me.”
You know, I didn’t think, obviously.
I thought about it, but I didn’t think
the way I should have.
I finally said I would take–
I think I said I’d take a look
[man] Well, when she told that you Jim,
Jim Roden, is dead in her place,
didn’t you ask what happened to him?
-I don’t remember.
-[man] You don’t?
She might have told me.
She might not have told me.
I think she just said he was dead,
but I can’t be sure of that.
[man] She’s asking for help,
why do you decide to help her?
Why did I decide to–?
Because I felt sorry for her.
I tried to help her before
with other things, not like this.
And, uh… I thought I could do something.
I thought about getting rid of the body.
Getting rid of the body was taking it
out of the house
and getting rid of it,
but not destroying it.
But just like putting it
in some safe place.
And maybe I’d figure out later on
what to do with it.
[man] She asked you to help her get rid
of the body.
[Rothstein] I wanted to get the body
out of the house
so she wouldn’t get in trouble.
I put it basically in my garage…
and that Saturday
she wanted it completely destroyed.
I said, “I’m not gonna do this shit.
I’m not gonna go through with it.”
And I had figured either, like,
kill myself or, you know, turn her in
to you guys.
Then figure out the best way for me
to do it.
[operator] This is a Verizon collect call,
this call is from…
[Marjorie] Marjorie Diehl.
An inmate of the Erie County Prison.
[Carol] Hi, Marjorie?
-This is Carol.
-Carol, I’d like to get something out,
I did not kill James Roden.
[Carol] Who actually was found dead?
[Marjorie] Who actually was found dead was
my boyfriend, James Roden,
and he had been my boyfriend
for ten and a half years
and loved me dearly.
-[Carol] Where did you see James dead?
-I found James dead when I came home
-and I’m gonna tell the lawyer about that.
-How do you think he died?
[Marjorie] Um… It could’ve been Bill,
he wants to fry me like a witch.
-[Carol] Do you think he killed James?
-He might have.
He had such a rage of jealousy,
I don’t know.
[Timon] We moved the entire freezer.
It’s an evidence-protection thing.
So, we moved the entire unit
to, uh, the coroner’s office.
He was wrapped up in a semi-fetal
position. And he was froze solid.
The body was actually frozen
to the sides of the freezer.
The freezer had to thaw out first
in order to get him out.
That took a few hours. Then we were able
to remove him from the freezer.
But he was frozen solid.
This is kind of a crude description,
but when you buy a frozen turkey
at the supermarket,
the condition of his remains.
Took four days for the thawing process
to take place.
And so then we could do an exam.
We x-rayed him to see
what we were dealing with.
And then we did find out that, yeah,
he was shot with a shotgun.
[Marjorie] William’s the one
that put him in the freezer.
You call this the actions
of an honest, decent man?
I went up to his house with all the police
around with the Wells case.
And I was gonna turn him in to the police.
And I think he was scared of that because
he thinks I’m a loose cannon,
’cause I do run my mouth.
Then he wanted to take a hacksaw to Jim.
Can you imagine? And he wanted to buy
a meat grinder that night!
The night they arrested me.
He wanted to buy
a commercial meat grinder!
Basically, I got a list together,
and we started picking up supplies.
And I tried to, uh, bullshit
as long as I could so I could stall.
[man] You got a list,
what was that list comprised of?
A meat grinder.
[man] And, uh, in fact, I think you said
you went in and looked at a meat grinder?
All I was doing was just buying stuff
and stalling for time as much as possible.
-[man] So, wait.
Correct me if I’m wrong,
you’re making the…
You made the decision that you weren’t
gonna go through with this,
these items were to buy time
so you could…
[Rothstein] You know,
turn her in to you guys.
[Clark] On September 21st, 2003,
the day Bill Rothstein turns in
Marjorie Diehl for killing James Roden,
he’s being held at the Pennsylvania
State Police barracks.
And I immediately wanted to interview him.
Well, there was a little bit
of a confrontation
over whether or not the FBI could go in
and interview Bill Rothstein
because he was a witness in the state case
potentially against Marjorie Diehl
on the death of James Roden.
But I said, “Well, they may be involved,
these two homicides.”
After a little discussion,
it was determined that
I could go in and interview Bill.
He was sitting in the room.
I’ll never forget this.
And I walked into the room, and I said,
“Bill, I’m Jerry Clark from the FBI.”
And he said,
“Well, let me tell you something.
I want you to know right off the top
that I’m the smartest guy in this room.”
I turned around, looked and said,
“Bill, it’s only you and me.”
I said, “I’m okay with that. My wife tells
me that every day. I’m fine with that.”
I started to ask him about
the relationship between Wells and Roden.
And he said, “No, no relationship.”
I said, “Then let’s talk about it.”
He said, “You know I can’t talk
about that.” I said, “Why not?
If they’re not related, let’s talk.”
And he said, “No, I’m not comfortable.”
So, investigatively what we’re trying to
do now is we have three different deaths
within three weeks.
You have Brian Wells,
you have Robert Pinetti,
and you have James Roden in the freezer.
You have the freezer located
in the garage of Bill Rothstein’s house,
immediately adjacent to the tower site.
You’re asking, “Are these related?
They gotta be related, right?”
But you have to make links. You can’t
just believe it. You have to prove it.
[Borzillieri] Things you should know
about Bill Rothstein:
Like Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong,
he was never really
what you would call “normal.”
His family ran the famous
Rola Cola bottling plant in town.
He was a rich kid,
an outcast at school who was bullied,
kicked in the shins,
and called a “dirty Jew.”
Bill took a few college classes.
He dropped out to start working
in the family business.
That’s when he started making
[Borkowski] Bill was the best man
at my wedding.
I never knew the guy to have
a mean bone in his body.
He was always kind, open, generous,
A perfect friend.
Bill was extremely intelligent.
He wasn’t a finisher.
But he was extremely intelligent.
Never finished college
or getting his pilot’s license.
Everything got so close,
and then he’d move on to something else.
But I didn’t find out about Marjorie
until after I came back from the service.
That would have been like ’74, ’75
when I found out about Marjorie.
I met her, and I didn’t like her.
I told Bill I didn’t like her
because she was nasty.
Controlling. She thought
the world revolved around her.
She could do anything she wanted
and get away with it.
But he had a thing for her
that went beyond just…
boyfriend-girlfriend kind of thing.
It was like somehow,
she got into his psyche…
and just lived there.
I mean, look what happened.
No normal human being does that
You don’t go to somebody’s house,
wrap up a body in a sheet,
take it, and throw it in your freezer.
I’m like, “Why did you do that?”
And, really, he had
no concrete answer to it.
[Marjorie] Bill said he could
play the police like a violin
and he can.
He’s the one that did it all
and here he has me
locked up like a dog.
He couldn’t have me
so he wants to destroy me.
He wants to put me away for life.
[Robinson] I met Marjorie around 1962.
Marjorie is one of my best friends.
We’ve known each other over 50 years.
We’ve maintained a friendship
across distance and time…
through letters, mostly.
We were at an orchestra rehearsal.
We played stringed instruments.
She’s very striking-looking,
so people were gonna notice her.
She also was a very good musician,
so people were gonna notice that.
When I went home,
I told my mother something like:
“I met somebody really fascinating.”
She had that aura even then.
But she was intense enough
that I would have to
go home and relax
after we’d hung out together.
But that was always part
of her personality.
Rothstein was always somewhere
in the background.
I think she was just happy
to find somebody older who could
relate to her on an intellectual level,
you know, which a lot of people couldn’t.
He was an intriguing guy, he really was,
that’s why I was fascinated with him.
He was built like a young Elvis,
in fact, he was a bodybuilder.
Marge and Bill had, I don’t know
if “stormy” is the word,
but it’s on-again, off-again.
They were engaged at one point.
I had known Bill since I was 21,
he met me at the Westlake skating rink
and wanted to become engaged right away.
He gave me a big flawless diamond
from New York City.
Uh, Bennet Brothers.
I was a virgin when I met him.
He wanted to do perverted sex
with me all the time
when I was young
and I didn’t know anything.
He’s into oral or anal sex all the time.
He wanted to, like, lick your legs,
put his penis in your legs.
He worships my legs.
He’s a pervert.
[Bremner] She had had enough,
and they broke up for a little while.
He made a plea to get her back. I think
in the paper, if I understand right.
So, then they came back together,
but then they broke up again.
The one loss he kept on blaming me for was
when I broke off our engagement.
He said that’s when his life started to
turn around, and I felt badly about that.
This is 35 years ago.
And all these years, he’s never been
or lived with another woman,
seriously dated another woman,
or been engaged to another woman.
There was obviously something
about her that got to him.
[Marjorie] He had the nerve,
he had the audacity
when we went up there Saturday,
the night that he had me arrested
with his lies,
he had the audacity to give me two swans
that were sort of battered,
that belonged to his mother,
as a gift to me
when he had called the state police
and was trying to frame me.
[Carol] There’s a lot of speculation,
Marjorie, that this case might be tied
to the Brian Wells case,
did you know Brian?
I don’t know a thing about the Wells case.
[Carol] They probably asked you
where you were when Brian Wells–
All that went down?
[Marjorie] I was nowhere around.
I have nothing to hide.
Do you think I would rob a bank
when I have a facility to make money
the way I have?
And I’ve won a lot of lawsuits,
I’m not a stupid woman.
I won a big probate when my mother died.
[Carol] Did Bill say
he knew Brian Wells?
[Marjorie] For all I know,
Bill could’ve been involved in stealing.
Bill would do anything for money.
[Carol] How did James die? Do you know?
[Marjorie] He was shot with that gun.
I could tell that from looking at him.
I have a serious mental illness,
but I’m not violent.
[man] Your recollection is she either
said “I murdered him” or “I killed him.”
She indicated that she–
Well, how did she indicate it?
-She had to say it.
-She told me. I don’t know.
I don’t know if she said she killed him
or if she shot him or–
She wouldn’t use “murdered.”
That indicates somebody was murdered.
She’d have to have a reason for it. Um…
[man] Just tell me what she said.
I don’t know. I don’t remember.
what was indicated,
but I don’t remember the exact words.
[newswoman] You can see what
Diehl-Armstrong had been collecting.
Dressed in white protective gear,
investigators went inside,
searching for more evidence in their
murder case against the 54-year-old.
Finding what they need is difficult
because debris is everywhere.
Uh, more clutter.
She was a hoarder. Didn’t trust banks,
so she kept large amounts of cash.
She had huge amounts of government
block cheese, things like that.
Just stacks of some of the stuff.
[newswoman] The Humane Society
was also on the scene
to take away two deceased cats, and leave
food and water for the cats still inside.
I’ve been aware of her…
mental state for a long time.
This is a very long story arc.
I could see her life kind of
going downhill gradually,
over the years.
She called me,
and she talked for three hours
without even letting me get a word in.
And then I finally said,
“I’ve got to hang up now.”
She was probably talking
when I hung up.
In retrospect, her mental illness was
She recognized there was something wrong.
She saw a psychiatrist.
She didn’t know what was going on.
She collected stuffed animals.
Oh, my goodness.
It was like a Beanie Baby store.
And clothes and jewelry.
And she had a variety
of diagnoses over the years.
She had took a variety
of medications over the years.
With all her money, she’ll stop
for a ball in the street.
She will stop and put it in the car.
She had a baby car seat
she put in the car.
She doesn’t even have any kids. Never has
and doesn’t know anybody that does.
[man] You mentioned money.
Is there a money issue
between her and Bill?
[Mennecke] Her and Bill have had
a number of spats about money.
He wanted to borrow money,
and she wouldn’t lend it to him.
-According to Marjorie?
-According to Marjorie.
How much did he want to borrow?
He wanted to pay back his school loan.
[man] Earlier you mentioned, uh,
somebody wanted Jim out of the picture.
-What did she tell you?
She said that Bill wanted her
to get rid of Jim and marry him.
[man] Kenneth Eugene Barnes.
Correct me if I’m wrong, you’re age 49.
-You’ve known her how long?
-Almost nine years, yeah.
You said you know Jim Roden?
Yeah, as her boyfriend,
as Jim Roden, yeah.
[Barnes] Her and Jim would come over,
we’d have coffee,
or we’d get down to South Pier
and sit all night fishing for catfish.
[man] Agnes, correct me if I’m wrong,
Did you meet, uh, Jim and Marjorie
about the same time?
-Yes. Same day.
[Owen] But I liked Jim.
He was a nice guy, but–
-I think he was very timid.
I had the impression that she had
a hammer over his head.
[Barnes] He was like her little puppet.
If he didn’t march to her tune
and do her bidding, whatever it was,
he was a son of bitch,
he was no good.
[man] Any problems between Marjorie
and Jim that you were aware of?
Oh, yeah. They fought all the time.
Yeah. He shoved her
into the stove one time.
She ever make any threats towards him?
She used to tell him
she’d kill him right to his face.
“You son of a bitch.
I’ll have you knocked off.” [laughs]
At other times,
they could be lovebirds, happy as hell.
I said to Jim, “What’s the matter?”
She gets in stages where she’s okay,
nice as pie, next time,
she’s like a devil.”
[man] Were they pretty, uh,
She wanted to know how she could get rid
of him. I told her I didn’t know.
When we first met her,
she casually mentioned
about her being in jail.
And we got real curious. [chuckles]
We went down to the library
and looked it up.
[man] What’d you look up?
About her having, uh, that trouble
with her boyfriend in 1984.
-The one that got killed?
We had covered her before.
There was a murder trial before,
when she shot and killed her boyfriend.
Thomas was sleeping on a couch,
and she unloaded a gun into him.
She laughed, thought it was funny.
“I shot that motherfucker.
I got away with it.”
“How’d you do that?”
She says, “Self-defense.
I told them he was beating me up.”
[chuckles] She actually did it,
and got away with it,
and knows she got away with it.
Her attorneys were able
to convince the jury
she felt in danger because
of the culture in which she was living.
So, that was obviously a sensational case.
And so Marjorie had been
on the radar with us for quite some time.
-Tell you one thing nice about Margie.
I loved to listen to her tell her stories.
‘Cause she could sure wind them up.
[woman on recording] This is a Verizon
collect call. This call is from…
[Marjorie] Marjorie Diehl.
[woman] An inmate
of the Erie County Prison.
[Marjorie] Hello. Yes. I’d like
to speak to you, please, I’m…
the one accused of all this stuff,
as you well know.
[man] Yes, uh–
And I wanna tell you something,
totally innocent of that stuff.
[man] Just sum it up for us,
did you have anything to do
with the murder or the cover-up?
[Marjorie] The only thing I had to do,
was when I realized
that somebody had killed poor Jim
and I loved Jim.
I was weak enough
that I went along with Bill.
It wasn’t me that killed him.
And it wasn’t me that touched his body
and put him in the freezer,
and did all these horrible things.
It wasn’t me that did that.
William Answel Rothstein…
…wanted to kill my boyfriend.
He’s one that did it.
That son of a bitch is the one
that they ought to be looking at!
-[man] All right, Marjorie, thank you.
[man] Well, she’s come out yesterday
and blamed you for everything.
[speaking in French]
[in English] Okay? Thank you.
[Marjorie] I parle le français
a lot better than he does.
But I’m gonna say, “Cie chez vous.”
That means, you know…
“F you” in French.
That’s my reply to his BS.
He wants, by the way, 15 minutes of fame.
Bill is getting his cheerios off of this
because he’s been a flop
at everything he ever did.
[Rothstein] Ready to go?
You still writing? Okay.
[man] One second more.
-Can I put my arms on the wall?
The bed was roughly– Excuse me.
The bed was roughly from here.
And it was back against there
to, like, about here.
His body was laying roughly…
-45-degree angle on the bed.
-[man] On the bed, not on the floor?
-Facing the wall?
I pulled it down this way and put
a cut piece of green tarp down here
-to put his body on.
I took the tarp
and folded it up around it,
and tried to use some duct tape
and packaging tape to wrap it up.
Okay? Can I get through here, please?
-Can I ask you a question?
-Other furniture in the room?
-A whole load of shit.
And it has ended up at 8645 Peach.
Okay, when I pulled the body off,
the feet were out here.
Did you drag him down headfirst,
then down the stairs after–?
I grabbed him by the shoulders.
I did very little over here.
I dumped hydrogen peroxide here.
To get rid of blood.
She thought that gets rid of evidence.
Now, the steps,
I replaced most of the steps.
Uh, partially because they had blood
on them and because they were cracked.
Uh… Body went out this way,
around that way,
then into the back of the van.
Anything else here? Questions?
[man] No, I think you did a great job,
thank you very much for all your help.
I wouldn’t say I did a great job,
I’d say I did bad stuff.
[man] Yeah, I know,
but you’re at least helping us out.
-Uh, nobody has any questions?
-[man] No, sir.
-Okay, you ready to roll to Peach Street?
-Yup, I think we’re ready to go.
There’s the mattress
that came off the bed.
That mattress is from Bacon.
She knew the body was here though, right?
She knew it was at the house.
Not sure if she knew it was in the garage.
Yeah, she knew it was in the garage
’cause I had told her that.
This is where I cut up the, uh, rifle.
I brought in an acetylene torch in here.
I used the acetylene torch here
to cut it up and reduce it to slag.
It wasn’t really cut up.
It was more like melted.
I brought in black plastic
from out of that room into here,
which was supposed to be,
supposedly, to cover the window.
So, nobody would see us
cutting the body up.
It appears there was a bag of blood.
Okay? And a razor blade
in the bottom of it.
-That was I. It was I.
Okay? And what is that–?
Stupid attempt at suicide.
You guys got my note?
-Nobody got the note?
-Okay. Three pieces of paper.
[man] I did find notes
where you told me to in the desk.
Why did you put in there
about it wasn’t related to Wells?
So, you wouldn’t go off hog wild,
“This has to do with the Wells shit.”
There’d be more shit in the newspaper.
So, you don’t have to your waste time,
trying to figure out:
“Is this part of the Wells situation?”
You would’ve been for another couple
of years looking on that shit.
-[man] Need to get through here?
-No. There’s nothing there to show.
[man] How long have you lived here?
Oh, maybe 55 years.
-Is that right? Wow.
-You grew up here, huh?
I never grew up.
I’ve lived here all my life.
My parents had money.
All of a sudden,
there’s no money to be seen.
I mean, I had stocks with my mother.
I’m thinking, “He needs it for this.
He’s executor of the estate.
Maybe he cashed all this money in.”
[man] Did he talk about what kind
of trouble he’s in, or tell you he’s in?
[man] Your impression is that he’s
in some criminal problems.
Something. I mean, I know–
I mean, he’s so highly intelligent.
But common sense, he has none.
I saw him late Saturday night.
That’s when he said,
“I tried to kill myself,
but I didn’t have the balls.”
Or the guts or whatever.
[man] Did you ask him what happened?
I said, “What’s it all about?”
He says, “I can’t tell you.”
[man] Did he ever mention
Marjorie Diehl’s name?
[Rothstein] Okay, I’ll show you
where it is.
It’s wet down here.
Watch so you don’t slip.
[Borzillieri] The other thing
you should know about Bill:
Right before the heist,
he was tangled up in a family feud.
His brother and sister wanted
to sell the house
where Bill had been living
since their parents died.
But Bill, the executor of the estate,
didn’t want to move.
So, he lied and told his siblings he put
the family home on the market for $90,000.
[Wick] And he actually listed the house
After talking to the real estate agent,
she advised, “That’s a bit high.”
And he stuck to 250.
I felt that it was no coincidence
the bank robbery note also asked for 250.
[Clark] So, we had Mr. Rothstein
take a polygraph.
And he came in.
He almost fell asleep
during the course of the polygraph.
He passed it.
Well, that meant nothing to me
because I knew
that he was smart enough to beat it.
[Borzillieri] Bill Rothstein
was also smart enough
to have kept a big secret from the FBI.
Apparently Rothstein had a roommate,
an old friend named Floyd Stockton.
This Stockton had suddenly moved out of
Bill’s house the day after the bank heist.
The FBI didn’t find out about Stockton,
now a new suspect,
until they heard about him
from Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong.
[woman] Tell me more
about this blond-haired fella.
[Marjorie] Uh… He was living there.
The guy that lived with…
The guy that lived with Bill
had to get out of town, he told me,
because of the– Too much heat, our case,
because of this Brian Wells case.
Floyd “Jay” Stockton was
an old friend of Bill Rothstein’s.
He was living with Bill Rothstein.
He was on the run from the law.
Stockton had been wanted
on a rape charge from another state
after he had raped
a disabled teenage girl.
There was a contingency
in the police that believed…
…once the body was found,
these were our people.
Erie City Police Department was like,
“These are people you need to check out.”
[Clark] To be quite honest,
there were factions of people,
that did not think
that somebody would have the gall,
the unmitigated gall
to have a dead body
in the freezer of his garage
and call a pizza deliveryman
right next door
to put this device on his neck.
[Gluth] They were cleared.
I was there when they said:
“These people aren’t involved.
I don’t even want to hear it.”
And I can tell you that we’ve coordinated
with all of the agencies involved.
We see no relationship between our matter
and the Rothstein case.
We’re comfortable with the progress
of the case.
We’re a month into this investigation,
but we certainly, uh,
have a good feeling
as to where we are today.
-[Placidi] I’ll see you then.
-I’ll catch you later. Take care.
He was charming
when he came into the office.
He’d talk to secretaries,
make a big fuss over him.
He was liked in my office.
It was hard to lose sight that he had
just had a body in a freezer for days.
But he denied any involvement
in the Wells case in his suicide note.
So, after we met with the FBI,
I honestly thought that…
um, their interest in him
had really waned.
His whole demeanor towards that case…
was he had nothing to worry about.
[man] Why did you decide
to waive, Bill?
[Placidi] And we were just trying to work
out the best situation for the Roden case.
[Borzillieri] Five months after
James Roden was killed,
Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong was
in court facing murder charges.
She never spoke.
Bill Rothstein testified Marge shot
her boyfriend after arguing about money.
The judge ordered Marjorie to stand trial.
But Rothstein? He cut a good deal
for his cooperation
and spent a few years in prison
for misdemeanor charges,
like abuse of a corpse.
He would get to be out on bail
until sentencing in the fall.
It was their negligence.
They were not certified.
They will be sued, if necessary,
from my cell.
-Rothstein will be sued, he’s a liar.
-[man 1] What about Rothstein?
Rothstein should be charged
with the murder of Brian Wells.
He had a fugitive, a rapist I turned in
to the FBI, in his house for two years.
-[man 1] He says you did the murder.
-Rothstein is a liar.
Rothstein is trying to, uh, rape me,
but he’s not gonna get away with it.
[man 2] You didn’t shoot that guy,
It’ll come out what happened,
you’ll see, if I get a decent–
Please, criminal lawyers, civil lawyers,
some more of them, come down
and see me, I need help, believe me.
[Borzillieri] Marjorie publicly stated
Bill Rothstein should be charged
with the murder of Brian Wells.
No one asked her what she meant by that.
Apparently, no one asked Bill either.
[Wick] We were taking different avenues.
We didn’t focus on Rothstein or Ms. Diehl.
Erie P.D. was doing their thing
with Jim Roden,
we were doing our thing in a direction
other than Mr. Rothstein.
We didn’t pay attention.
We knew it was going on,
but we were focusing
on other avenues then.
[Borzillieri] Like most people
following this case,
I couldn’t believe it when I read
Rothstein had been cleared as a suspect.
The FBI’s profile matched him
Then there was
Rothstein’s suicide note,
stating the frozen body had nothing
to do with the heist.
No one got to the bottom of why
Rothstein put Marjorie’s dead boyfriend
in his freezer.
Why not just get rid of the body?
Why keep the corpse on ice?
I wanted answers. I got up off my couch
in Brooklyn, New York, and drove to Erie.
I was in between jobs,
so I had plenty of time.
I’d become obsessed with finding out
who killed Brian Wells…
and if Brian was in on the heist or not.
After a long drive, I made it
to Rothstein’s house on Peach Street.
I knocked on the door. No answer.
I walked across the road to get video,
and that’s when this happened.
[Borzillieri] He’s actually here.
Rothstein wasn’t getting out.
He was just sitting there.
For a really long time.
I put my camera down. Didn’t want this
to seem like an ambush,
and walked up to Rothstein’s van.
He still wasn’t getting out.
I introduced myself,
told him I was making a documentary,
wanted to tell his side of the story.
He turned to me with a blank stare,
and said, “No.”
I was stuck looking at him.
I didn’t know what to do
but walk to the car.
Bill never spoke to me or the media.
By all accounts,
he never spoke to Marjorie again either.
When I was in Mayview State Hospital
I would walk the long marble hallway.
And I said, I’m gonna bring it
into this universe,
the karma of the universe,
and I think he’s gonna drop dead.
I said, I predict it,
I had a psychic flash
and I think he’s gonna be dead.
‘Cause he’s not gonna be able
to live with himself
when he thinks of what he’s doing to me.
In the last few conversations
I had with Bill, he became…
mean, you know?
He wasn’t funny anymore.
It was like he was looking…
to bite something, to strike.
His personality changed,
his actions changed.
Everything was different,
it wasn’t like him.
I knew that something was wrong.
[Placidi] To tell the truth,
he came in the office,
I hadn’t seen him in six months
and he had lost all this weight.
I didn’t know he was sick,
I commented on the weight loss,
how good he looked.
I felt kind of foolish
a couple months later
when I was called that he was
in the hospital and… not doing well.
I heard that Bill Rothstein was
in one of the local hospitals.
And I said, “I wanna interview him.”
And I said, “Bill…
were you involved in the Brian Wells case?
Don’t bring it with you. Cleanse yourself.
Now’s your chance.
Tell us what happened.”
And he lifted up his arm out of the bed
and he drew a big, “No.”
Four days later, Bill Rothstein died.
Yeah, he passed away
under medical supervision
at a local hospital here,
and, uh, he had terminal cancer.
There was many, many areas
of cancer in his thorax, which is…
From abdomen and thorax,
he was riddled with cancer.
He may have had it all along and knew it.
You know, I believe that Bill was…
Was definitely a manipulator
in this whole case.
Uh, I think Bill thought, you know,
he could outsmart anyone,
even law enforcement.
I think there’s a good possibility
I believe died within a year,
year and a half…
Uh, I think it was Hodgkin’s.
And… I think maybe Bill knew
he was dying.
I think this was something
that Bill thought:
“I’m gonna show that I’m more intelligent
than all these other people.
I’m gonna leave law enforcement
with this case they’ll never solve.”
There’s no question
the task force has been frustrated,
because there hasn’t been an arrest
in the case.
In fact, no one is charged with anything
directly related to Brian Wells’s death,
and that’s gotta change.
He never wanted to be in the spotlight.
You try to live your life, but you have
in the back of your mind,
who could do this and get away with it?
[Bishop] Unfortunately, I was housed
with Marjorie for about three months,
uh, back in 2003.
You’ve never been to Erie County Prison,
but there are, like,
metal picnic tables that, you know,
several inmates sit at at a time.
And she was a couple people down
on the opposite end of the table,
and I was sitting with someone
that she didn’t like, talking to someone.
And she said, you know, “I can’t believe
you talk to her. I can’t stand her.”
And she says, “I see her
in the med line, and I wanna
bash her head like a watermelon
and watch the seeds pop out.”
And, uh… I thought
that was pretty disgusting.
And I, of course,
it had been in the news about James Roden,
so I looked at Marjorie and I said:
“Wow, it doesn’t pay to piss off
the freezer queen. You end up an entrée.”
She thought that was hysterical.
And, you know, she’s pointing and:
“You’re funny. I like you,” you know.
[Borzillieri] The final chapter
of the frozen-body case
played out after Bill Rothstein died.
in an abrupt turnaround,
finally confessed to killing James Roden.
She told her cellmates
that she shot her boyfriend
because of a fight
about another woman.
[Bishop] No remorse, whatsoever. None.
Never one time did she shed a tear
for James Roden.
They have these, like, tin trays
on the wall that…
were used by the inmates for mirrors.
And she would stand there for hours,
shaving her eyebrows off.
You know, just creepy look on her face.
For hours she would stand and do that.
Now, I mean, if you’re gonna do that,
it takes a second, right?
She had one face for the guards…
and another one she showed us.
She was trying to make herself look crazy
to the guards.
The woman is a master manipulator.
Master at manipulation.
Um… She had made statements, you know,
that if the district attorney
got too close,
she’d play the crazy card.
[newsman] In what some are calling
Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong pled guilty
but mentally ill
to third-degree murder charges
for killing her boyfriend, James Roden.
Her attorney says it’s likely
she will be paroled with good behavior
after a seven-year minimum sentence.
[Bishop] You murder two people
and that’s– That’s it?
For certain, you murdered two people.
And you go sit in some mental institution
“where the food’s better.”
Another quote of hers.
I just find that ridiculous.
[Borzillieri] Now that
the frozen body case was over,
Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong wasn’t
in the news much.
She was off-limits to reporters
and investigators since sentencing
because she was in a psych ward.
With Rothstein dead,
Marjorie might be the only one left
who knew about his involvement
in the heist.
So, I took a shot in the dark.
Wrote her a letter.
Inmate number OJ 6261.
And just one week later, she wrote back.
Told me she was familiar
with the Wells case.
And then she promised to reveal secrets
the public didn’t know
if I did something for her in return.
“Dear Mr. Borzillieri, I am very familiar
with the Brian Wells bank-robbery case.
I have five college degrees,
with honors, and am lucid.
I will help you, but I want legal help
or cash consideration in return.
Please write and say what you can do.
Thank you. Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong.”
And that’s how it began with us.
The most unusual
and bizarre relationship I’ll ever know.
Right. Isn’t that wonderful?
[woman] Can you–?
I had no idea, this is fantastic.
-Oh, this is wonderful.
I’m so happy to see you. I had no idea
why they called me here, and then…
And I really want to talk to you, yes.
|Ann Smith||…||Jean Heid (voice)|
|Alex Calleros||…||associate producer|
|Rob Kraut||…||associate producer|
|Jonathan Mussman||…||production executive|
|Tessa Treadway||…||Post Production Executive|
Film Editing by
|Alex Calleros||…||post-production supervisor|
|Nathan Efstation||…||dialogue editor|
|Glen Frazier||…||vo recordist|
|Jonathan Iglecias||…||re-recording mixer|
Camera and Electrical Department
|Jan Reichle||…||additional cinematographer|
|Sean Meyers||…||on-line editor|
|Joe Panebianco||…||very special thanks|