31 Dec Evil Genius: Episode 4
As the confessions continue to provide new information the curtain slowly begins to fall on the entire operation. Ken tells the police Brian Wells was in on the heist and that they had met together the day before to discuss their roles in the crime. This was important as it meant because Brian would be classed as a co-conspirator they couldn’t be charged with murder.
The trial proceeds forward as Marjorie is now charged with her role in the Pizza Bomber incident, the court case unravels a lot of mysteries but only creates more as a local prostitute ends up muddled in the mix. Brian Wells was a frequent patron of hers and even went as far as helping her outside of their consensual sex for money.
This leads ultimately to her confessing to Trey Borzilleri that she was “servicing” Brian prior to the heist until 2:30 pm, leaving him only enough time to get home shower and prep for his shift. If true this information would then of course mean that Brian Wells was an innocent bringing back the possibility of murder charges for the entire crew.
When you were watching across the street,
did you know Brian Wells was gonna die?
I had no clue.
-[woman] Did you make the bomb?
[Borzillieri] When Ken Barnes confessed,
it was the breakthrough
investigators had been hoping for.
Finally, an insider could tell them
what happened to Brian
at the tower site, but also if Brian
was actually in on the heist.
We learned through interviews with Barnes
there was a pre-robbery meeting
at Rothstein’s house
to discuss roles for each person.
We asked about that, who was present.
He described it.
He said, of course, Mr. Rothstein,
Marjorie Diehl, and then Mr. Stockton.
Bob Pinetti was present.
And Brian Wells, he was there.
[Borzillieri] The FBI didn’t record
Ken Barnes’ confession.
It was policy at the time. They believed
a camera changes the interview dynamic.
I reached out to Ken,
he had no problem telling me
exactly what he told investigators.
Ken said his role was to be a lookout
and that Marge came to his house
shortly before noon on August 28th, 2003.
[Barnes] She picked me up. I said, “What’s
going on?” She said, “Today’s the day.
Of the bank robbery.” I goes: “Oh.”
Jim was supposed to drive
the getaway car.
I said, “Where’s Jim?” She goes,
“He’s in bed. I think he’s sick with flu.”
And we went up to, um, like I said,
to the Shell station,
Bill came down and made the pizza call.
We went from there up to his house.
And, uh, so, we was up there
at the tower site.
With Rothstein, waiting,
while Brian came up.
Brian delivered the pizza.
He got out of the car.
And Bill’s car was in front of her car.
And so he put it up on the hood.
Or on the, uh, trunk, rather.
And, uh, Brian was standing there
waiting to get paid for the pizza.
Marge and me
and Rothstein were eating pizza
when Stockton brought the bomb out
from the back of the building.
I don’t know,
probably within three feet of Brian.
And Brian, at that point,
looked like he was terrified.
Like he knew there was something wrong.
And started to run.
I walked up to him and said,
“Quit being a puss,”
and I smacked him one.
And that’s when Rothstein
pulled out the gun, shot in the air,
and told him he wasn’t going anywhere.
Margie and Rothstein grabbed
ahold of him, tackled him down.
And, uh, they were holding him, and Marge
and, uh, Stockton put the bomb on him.
And he says, “I don’t wanna do this!
I don’t wanna do this!”
And, uh, I don’t know if he thought
it was real or if he thought it was fake
or what the situation was.
The T-shirt, Margie put that on him
to cover up the bomb.
Somebody gave him the note and says
he was supposed to hand it in
to get $250,000.
She said, “If you happen to get caught,”
she said, “Tell them some black guys
held you down, put the bomb on you.”
“That way it won’t bring any heat to us.”
They gave him a shotgun.
Said, “If you have trouble, use this.”
We went from there back out
and up to the parking lot of Eat’n Park,
which was across the street
and over the hill from the bank.
[Clark] Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong and
Ken Barnes sat in a vehicle and observed
the bank being robbed through binoculars.
They took turns passing the binoculars.
[Barnes] What we needed them for
was to see down
into the front part of the bank.
And as she was looking down in there,
“Ha-ha-ha! Looks like somebody
just robbed a bank!”
I said, “Let me see.”
And at that point the cops were coming in,
and, uh, I said,
“Let’s get the hell out of here.”
[Clark] From there, they drive south
on Peach Street
to the Rothstein residence,
where they meet up with Bill Rothstein,
and that’s when Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong
gets back on the highway.
I-79, going in the wrong direction.
We believe going back to the
McKean Township sign,
looking for that last site.
[Barnes] Later on that day
when I was at home watching the TV,
I felt bad because it wasn’t supposed
to happen. It was supposed to be fake.
As far as I knew, or he knew,
or anybody else knew,
it wasn’t supposed to be real.
But between Marge and Rothstein,
they ended up making it real.
[Borzillieri] Now that investigators
had Ken’s confession,
they were headed up
to a Washington State prison
to confront Floyd Stockton,
Bill Rothstein’s roommate.
The guy Ken claimed helped lock
the bomb around Brian Wells’ neck.
Stockton, this is video of him
from a police interview
during the frozen body case,
knew he was cornered.
But his attorney got him an amazing deal,
immunity in exchange
for testifying against Marjorie.
had been keeping secrets, too.
He did mention he may have,
at Mr. Rothstein’s request, asked him
to help make a couple of the pieces
for the collar, but it didn’t work out.
He didn’t do them properly,
and Mr. Rothstein took over.
We actually did a reenactment
at the scene with Floyd Stockton.
[Clark] He said
Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong was there.
And he was ordered by Mr. Rothstein…
to place the device
around the neck of Brian Wells.
[Wick] When he described
approaching Brian with the device,
he said he could see
the fear in his eyes, and, uh–
And he became a little upset
regarding what he was about to do.
After he put it on,
he wanted to get away from there
as soon as possible and started walking
down that tower site location.
And told us he was serpentining
because he thought
he was gonna be shot in the back.
And he even said, “You know what?
I’m a convicted child abuser.
I could get shot back here
and no one would even care.”
Floyd Stockton should’ve been charged.
Um, but if you looked at the group…
as a whole
and their roles in this crime, um…
we agreed he was less culpable
than the others.
[Borzillieri] Stockton and Barnes
answered a lot of questions,
but several mysteries remained.
Both said they did not know
who built the bomb and the cane gun,
who wrote the notes…
or who was the mastermind.
Who put this in motion, who said,
“Let’s rob a bank for money”?
Who said that first, Marjorie or Bill?
We don’t know.
[Borzillieri] Stockton and Barnes
couldn’t tell investigators anything
about the involvement
of Brian’s coworker, Robert Pinetti,
who died of an apparent overdose
after the heist.
Pinetti’s role would never be cleared up.
And oddly, while both men claimed
Brian Wells was in on the heist,
they couldn’t say how
or when he was recruited.
They might have been compartmentalized
by Rothstein, where he segregated people.
So, Stockton might not have known
what Ken Barnes was to do.
But they’re all in the conspiracy.
I think the whole plan
initially started out,
was… a way for them all
to make some money.
But it developed
into more than just making money.
It became almost a game to them.
A diabolical, maniacal game,
but a game where, “Let’s see how
we can get away with this crime,
and we’re really smarter
than everybody else.
We’re certainly smarter
than law enforcement.”
[Greta] Breaking news tonight
in the so-called pizza bomber mystery.
Tonight, we may finally have the answer
to a 4-year-old mystery.
[man] Officials say they’ll file
bank robbery and other charges
against this woman,
Authorities will also charge her buddy,
Kenneth Barnes, a convicted drug dealer.
The mastermind, prosecutors say,
was Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong,
who allegedly recruited Kenneth Barnes
to kill her father and wanted to pay him
-with proceeds from the bank robbery.
-This is a weird case, is it not?
Larry, this is as bizarre a case
as you’re going to find.
They hardly write them this way
[Mobilia] The purpose
of the entire pizza bomber plot?
Money. Diehl-Armstrong needed cash
to pay Barnes to kill her father.
Bill Rothstein needed the money
to settle an estate.
[man] The big question,
was Wells a victim or participant?
Today, a stunning announcement.
Prosecutors say he was both.
Our investigation has led to the belief
that Brian became involved
in a limited role.
Allan, one of the weirder aspects of this,
is it seems
that the victim is being blamed.
In part, that is true.
And that is yet another
weird aspect of all of this.
And the mother, in fact, and the siblings
were at the press conference here today.
They were actually heckling
the U.S. attorney.
I’ve never seen that
in all of my reporting.
It may be that his role transitioned
from that of the planning stages
to being an unwilling participant
in this scheme.
-[man] Wouldn’t that make him a victim?
No charges will be filed
against Brian Wells,
who died when the bomb went off.
Instead, officials say, he’ll be listed
simply as an unindicted coconspirator.
[man] Just how surprising is it
that Brian Wells has been named
as an accomplice in this whole case?
I think a lot of us were surprised.
For the past four years,
we have been portraying him as a victim
because we thought he was a victim.
What evidence is there
that he was involved?
[Wick] Mr. Wells was at Rothstein’s
house the day before.
Uh, a witness, who was driving past
Mr. Rothstein’s house the day before…
Wells actually pulled out of
Mr. Rothstein’s driveway
leaving the meeting.
The witness had to slam on his breaks
to avoid hitting him.
That witness was very strong
Mr. Wells as being the driver
of the vehicle he almost hit
leaving that meeting.
We stayed silent for four years.
And now we have prosecutors
trying to implicate the murder victim.
When you have a bomb
locked to your neck
and the federal authorities
chop your head off
to get the bomb off,
there was no way
Brian put that on himself.
after the bomb had gone off,
the federal authorities
chopped his head off
to get that collar off.
Brian did not put that collar on himself.
I– I can’t imagine that, uh, they’re
trying to get the public to believe this.
[woman] What about the claims
that he met with them the day before?
Uh, they can’t prove that.
Have you seen evidence?
I have not seen any evidence to suggest
he knew these people in any way
other than he might have
delivered them a pizza.
[man] Prosecutors were also asked
if murder charges will be filed
for the death of Brian Wells,
or if the coconspirators
could face the death penalty.
We were told because Brian Wells
was believed to be in on the heist,
those charges cannot be filed.
[Buchanan] Under federal law,
under the circumstances of this case,
the death penalty is not available, uh,
for the conduct, uh,
included in this federal charge.
[man] John, what’s the feeling
about no murder charges?
My reaction was I can’t believe that, uh,
they’re gonna try to frame my brother
for his own murder.
[woman] Do we know who built
the collar bomb and the cane gun?
Um, we never charged anyone
with building the device.
Um, it may be each of the coconspirators
played a role
in its design or fabrication,
but we don’t know the answer.
It’s not over yet.
We still have one defendant, uh,
who is awaiting trial, Marjorie Diehl.
[Borzillieri] The press conference may
have felt like closure for prosecutors,
but for the rest of us,
especially Brian’s family,
there were too many unanswered questions.
Plus, a lot of us still weren’t convinced
Brian was in on the heist.
Obviously, that was the crux of the case
as to whether or not Brian Wells
was culpable in his own death.
[man] An attorney for Diehl-Armstrong
says she will plead not guilty.
I was hopeful Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong
would take a plea,
because it would take away
any appeal issues that she might have.
And always in trial,
uh, especially in today’s day and age
with the CSI effect
and everybody loving to see
forensics and DNA and fingerprints,
which we didn’t have…
um, you always would feel more comfortable
taking a plea,
which she discussed
with her attorney and, uh, declined.
I’m an innocent woman.
I’m not messing around.
They offered me a five-year plea
for two years.
Think they’d offer five years
if they thought I was the mastermind?
Come on. They never– By the way,
the feds never said I was the mastermind.
I don’t know if you know that.
-Wait a minute–
-The media– The media said it.
I went in and I said to Jerry Clark
and Jason Wick and I said,
“Look, tell these media once and for all
Stockton took under oath
and said he alone
put the bomb on Brian Wells,
and he’s free as a bird.”
Kenneth Barnes said,
“Marjorie was there every day.
Marjorie was trying the bomb on Wells.
Marjorie had planning meetings
of robbing the bank.”
He says he’s not getting anything
for his testimony against me.
Just getting right with God.
Few months later,
he gets 23 years taken off his sentence.
Does that sound like
a motive to lie to you?
I hope the rotten son of a bitch
dies in prison, that’s what I hope.
[Borzillieri] Once the spotlight…
came onto Marge, she became–
She was more erratic with her letters.
They went from, you know, normal margins
into stuff all over the page.
Marge was anxious to get to trial
and convince a jury she was being framed.
First she needed to be declared
The judge consulted experts to see
if Marge could assist in her own defense.
Several doctors determined
she was too unstable.
A lawyer who defended Marge
the first time she killed a boyfriend
in 1984, was asked
what it was like to represent her.
As I think back about defending her…
uh, she was my punishment on Earth.
She talked about one thing
and then talked about birds,
or God knows what.
She had to brush her teeth 32 times a day.
Not 31, not 33.
It’s just amazing to me,
four times I had her committed,
and four times the mental health system
found her to be competent.
It was like Jonah
being swallowed by the whale.
She stayed in the belly
for a period of days,
the whale opened its mouth,
the mental health system, boom,
out she came.
We shouldn’t talk about
a collar bomber.
We shouldn’t be talking about
FBI agents and ATF agents.
She should have been confined.
She was sick, she was disturbed,
and anybody that was around her knew that.
You have to deal with the disease. If you
have a disease that won’t get better
and your thinking is way off,
why jeopardize society
by putting the person on trial,
run the risk? They’ll be acquitted.
[Borzillieri] It took months of medication
and psychiatric treatment,
but eventually, the judge actually
declared Marjorie competent
and set a date for what was now being
called “Erie’s Trial of the Century.”
Marge said she was thrilled
to get her day in court.
And she said she had more good news.
Apparently Stockton, who had been
given immunity to testify against her,
was not going to be at trial.
He needed heart surgery.
That meant one less person
to link Marge to the bank heist.
[Marjorie] So, you know, it’s fantastic.
Now we don’t have Stockton,
-[Borzillieri] You must feel–
You must feel really invigorated by that.
I am. I think it is a sign from God.
It seems like everybody
that’s involved with this
either gets sick or dies or…
Did you notice?
[Borzillieri] Marge asked if I’d come
to her trial. She wanted support.
I left New York, drove to Erie…
walked into the courtroom
that first day, sat down.
Marge turned around, saw I was
sitting behind the prosecution
and blurted out,
“Hey, Trey, what are you doing over there?
You’re on the wrong side. Get over here.”
I think she’s taken a shine to you. Yeah.
I think that was very interesting.
I’m very familiar with the case.
Um, I was here seven years ago
when the incident happened.
I’ve been familiar
with the case all the way
and have seen her on camera.
To see her in person and, you know,
she has those dark eyes
that kind of look right through you.
I have to admit that, uh, a little bit
of a chill ran through my blood.
[Borzillieri] Over the next several days,
witnesses who’d seen Marjorie
at various heist locations took the stand.
As did the inmates
who said Marge confessed behind bars.
One testified Marjorie admitted
the coconspirators were afraid
of the death penalty
and would watch each other’s backs.
[Clark] Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong’s
behavior during trial
was so interesting to watch,
because she would act out
at certain points,
but knew just how far to go before
she knew she would be
admonished by the judge.
After the jury would be taken on a break,
the judge would be off of the bench,
and it would just be her at her table,
prosecution and myself at our table,
and she would turn the chair around,
swivel the chair,
and begin talking to people in the crowd.
[Borzillieri] Midway through the trial,
Brian Wells’ favorite prostitute,
took the stand.
I was on the edge of my seat,
because I’d read in federal documents
that Jessica might have some
inside knowledge about the heist.
But she was nervous
when she answered questions.
Jessica did testify that one night
while she was on Barnes’ front porch,
she overheard a conversation about
a bank robbery, and a woman was there.
But she didn’t know who.
I noticed Jessica never once
looked at Marjorie in court.
So, when Jessica left, I ran after her,
asked if she would do an interview
for this film. She said yes.
We made plans to meet, six o’clock
down by the Erie lakefront tower.
I waited anxiously.
An hour went by.
Jessica never showed up.
[Mobilia] I think the jurors,
for the first time,
got to see her as a human
rather than this alleged criminal
that has allegedly
committed all these crimes.
When she broke down into tears
talking about her childhood
and how abusive it was, um, I think that
most of the jurors sympathized with her.
[Treanor] Going into testimony
with the evidence against her,
I thought it’d take a miracle
to find her not guilty.
Now you think
she’d made headway with the jury.
[Mobilia] With the first couple
I really thought she was toast.
Now I think that her testimony
is, uh, actually helping her.
When we all thought
that it would hurt her.
[Kevin-John] Early in the case,
I wanted to bring out the, um–
For lack of a better word, the animal.
I wanted to bring out
the villain in my illustrations.
Dark tones, dark eyes, wild hair.
After I see her mingling with you
and some of the other people
and being this charming character,
I found myself, today,
starting to soften the likeness
that I’m illustrating of her.
[Hickton] Everybody ready?
The jury found Ms. Diehl-Armstrong
guilty on all counts for her actions…
surrounding the events
of August 28th, 2003.
Specifically, the jury found
Ms. Diehl-Armstrong guilty
of conspiracy to commit
armed bank robbery,
armed bank robbery
in which death resulted,
and use of a destructive device
in furtherance of a crime of violence.
The next phase of this case
is the sentencing
which is scheduled for February 28th.
After the verdict, Diehl-Armstrong turned
to her lawyer, “You didn’t do your job.”
Then she turned to the gallery and said,
“There’ll be an appeal.
I can tell you that.”
[operator] Thank you for using Evercom.
You may start the conversation now.
[Borzillieri] Hi, Marjorie.
Oh, Trey, I am so damn mad.
I am so damn mad at that stupid jury.
So damn mad at that shithead lawyer.
I listen on TV tonight
and they’re having these–
Dancing on my grave,
these bastards on the news.
I really feel shell-shocked about it
because there’s no truth to it.
I can’t see how these people could be
in their right minds. And to convict me.
I bought stuff because
I thought it was gonna be a party.
Because I was gonna get acquitted
and it turned out to be nothing.
[Borzillieri] Before sentencing Marjorie,
the judge addressed the courtroom.
“The defendant,” he said,
“has a long history of mental illness.
But there are people with these conditions
who do not solicit to kill their father
or seal a man’s fate by strapping
a ticking bomb to his neck.
It is worth noting Ms. Armstrong
was an excellent student
who graduated 12 out of 413 students
in her high school class.
She went on to obtain a bachelor’s degree
as well as a master’s degree in education.
All of which begs the question
as to what might have been.”
Marge stood up,
was sentenced to life plus 30.
She was quiet, said nothing
as she was taken out of the courtroom.
As children, we could never have
imagined this happening.
The utter waste of somebody who was
really a star.
I mean, intellectually and physically.
This beautiful woman
with great charisma,
musical talent, brains…
love for animals.
You know, and it’s just all gone down
the tubes. It’s extremely sad.
[Borzillieri] After trial,
Marge went into a deep depression.
Stayed in her cell,
kept insisting she was innocent.
She wrote often about how unfair it was
that she was the only one paying a price.
Rothstein died before he was caught.
the guy who put the collar on Brian Wells,
was free after serving time
on that rape charge.
He was married now,
living in Washington State.
I asked him to do an interview,
but he said no.
[woman] Ken, did you do it?
-[Borzillieri] And Ken Barnes?
He actually likes being in prison,
because he’s finally off drugs.
[Barnes] I– You know, I was constantly
high day after day after day after day.
It was bad,
if I’d have still been doing that,
I would’ve been dead by now.
Me being here and them taking care of me,
there’s benefits for me.
And as far as being locked up
from society, it doesn’t really matter.
The only thing I’m missing
is the bars and the drugs
and the whores on the street, you know?
So, I’ve got my food, my medication,
a place to sleep.
There’s people in here to talk to.
It may be old men,
sill somebody to talk to, you know?
Looking back on it, I think as far as
saying what would haunt me
or bother me about the case, um…
The case is closed. Is it solved? Yeah.
People were charged for it,
so, it’s a cleared case, for what that is.
Do I think the whole story will
ever come out? I don’t believe so.
number one unanswered question
for most of us is what exactly
was Brian Wells’ culpability?
How much did he know?
Was he…? Was he played by these people?
Was he an active participant
with these people?
Or was he just, uh, completely duped,
a pizza delivery guy who showed up.
Few of us believe, you know,
the initial story
that they called for a pizza
and whoever showed up
they’d put this on and say
“Go rob a bank.”
Few of us believe that’s the case.
That fine line of where exactly
Brian Wells’ culpability lies
is probably something
that now we’ll never know.
[Marjorie] We’re having
a big thunderstorm. I’m loving it.
-I love thunderstorms.
And we’re having–
Oh, I love them. I always have.
I even love being out in the rain, Trey.
It just makes my day.
-All right, have a great day. Take care.
Sugar loves you. All right, bye.
[Borzillieri] It was now three years after
the trial, ten years after the heist.
And I was still talking with Marjorie.
My friends and family all wondered why.
The case was closed.
People were in prison.
But I couldn’t stop thinking
about the innocence of Brian Wells
and how no one was charged
with his murder.
And I’d been wanting to ask Marge
a crucial question
when the time was right,
which was now.
All her appeals had been denied.
She wouldn’t be getting out of prison.
Maybe she would finally tell me the truth.
[Borzillieri on recording] At this point,
with all your knowledge on the case,
do you think that Brian Wells
was involved at this point?
Well, yes, I do.
I don’t like to say that, though
-because I don’t like to hurt his family.
-Don’t you think he was involved, too?
-[Borzillieri] I don’t.
Where do you get the idea he’s innocent?
-Where do you get that idea from?
-Well, I come from
innocent until proven guilty
and I haven’t see all the–
[Marjorie] People are telling you,
coconspirators tell you he was involved.
That’s good enough for me. Just think.
Why do you think Wells was innocent?
What in the world makes you think that?
‘Cause that is so wrong.
Why? Is your movie gonna say–?
Is your movie gonna say that, Trey?
I mean, he was a 46-year-old fuck-up
that couldn’t even make a living
and he’s out here wanting to work
with the crack whores
to scoop up big money.
If you don’t even believe that,
you better get your head out of your ass.
-[Borzillieri] Marge, calm down.
-I am sick of Brian Wells!
I didn’t know the son of a bitch!
I didn’t kill the son of a bitch!
He’s the fucking reason everybody
is doing this to me. That’s it.
I’m tired of your bullshit.
I don’t wanna talk to you.
[Borzillieri] It was our first fight.
I was wondering if this was it between us.
Marge’s reaction stunned me.
Why was she so insistent
Brian Wells was in on the heist
if she claimed she had
nothing to do with it?
Maybe, as I found out from legal experts,
it was the fact that there is no statute
of limitations on filing murder charges.
Which meant the coconspirators
could be charged with murder
and face the death penalty if Brian Wells
was actually not in on the heist.
-[Borzillieri] Hi, Marge.
-[Marjorie] Hello, Trey.
I hope we have a better
‘Cause I was really hurt.
Are you still there?
-Yeah, I’m here.
-Understand where I’m coming from?
Marge, I always understood.
All this stuff we’ve talked about.
[Marjorie] Well, then what is it, Trey,
that has turned you so…
It really hurts me, especially now
when I need friends and support.
I’m mentally ill and I do the best I can.
I’m bipolar. And I do the best I can.
But I’m not street-smart.
And I’m being framed here
and this is the truth.
[Borzillieri] I backed off and just
started listening to Marge again,
convinced there was more to the story.
And sure enough, several months later,
something happened at the prison
Marge was in.
Marge told me that Jessica Hoopsick,
Brian’s favorite prostitute,
was brought in on a drug charge.
Marge claimed Jessica
had been bad-mouthing her,
and she had to have
a conversation with her.
I didn’t tell Marge this,
but now that I knew where
Jessica Hoopsick was,
I wrote Jessica a letter
and she got back to me.
Jessica had nothing to say
about the bank heist,
but she talked about Brian a lot.
Apparently even though he paid her
turned into a friendship.
[operator] This call is from
the correctional institution
and is subject to
monitoring and recording.
[Hoopsick] Brian became a friend
of the family’s.
Uh, my mom knew him, my sister knew him.
He took me to the doctor,
took me grocery shopping,
my family grocery shopping.
Um… There was definitely
I’m not going to say that it was love,
but there was definitely special feelings.
He was a good guy. There’s only
a few of them left in the world.
[Borzillieri] I asked Jessica what
happened with Marge in the prison yard,
if they’d really just had a conversation.
Jessica said Marge was lying.
[Hoopsick on recording] I went to Muncy.
And good old Marjorie Diehl was there.
Soon as she found out I was there
she came and found me.
So, I walked over to Marge
and she was like,
“You fucking whore”
and, “I’m gonna kill you!
I don’t care whether
we’re inside or outside of prison.
I’m gonna find you.
I’m gonna send somebody after you.”
[Borzillieri] Jessica was vague
when I asked her
why exactly Marge was so mad at her.
But we stayed in touch.
Apparently news travels fast in prison.
Somehow, Marge found out that
I’d been talking with Jessica,
because I got this letter from Marge:
“Dear Trey, are you speaking
with Jessica Hoopsick?
Went to visit? Talk on the phone?
I must know the truth
about this lying crack whore.”
[Borzillieri] I heard– Listen, I heard
that you approached Jessica at the prison.
You and some of your friends.
[Marjorie] I told her to stop lying about
me and was gonna take her to court.
-That’s what I told her.
-And did you guys, like, corner her?
-And try to intimidate her?
-If she said that, she’s a fucking liar.
-So, what happened?
[Marjorie] She lied and told me that she
had never said anything about me.
I know damn well. She’s a fucking liar.
Everybody knows she’s a fucking liar.
If you’re basing your movie on her,
I’ll tell you it’ll be shit.
[Borzillieri] Neither Marge
nor Jessica would tell me
what that fight was really about.
Jessica got a restraining order against
Marge and moved to a new facility.
Jessica called again.
I told her Marge said she was a liar.
Jessica took a deep breath,
and after a long pause
and in a steady, strong voice said:
“Marge thinks she’s so smart.
Well, I’m smart, too.”
And in that moment, the tables turned.
Jessica asked to do an interview
for this documentary.
She had something important to say.
She could meet near a bus stop at night.
She was put in a work release program.
And this time, Jessica Hoopsick showed up.
hurts me that…
I could do this to somebody
who I cared about.
My name is Jessica Hoopsick.
I’m a friend of Brian Wells.
I’m ready to tell the real story now.
I want people to know he was innocent.
And that he was a good guy.
[Hoopsick] One day
I walked in Ken’s house,
and him and a couple of friends
were planning on robbing a bank.
He wanted me to find a gofer
to rob the bank for him.
He wanted somebody who they could
scare into doing this,
that wouldn’t run or call the cops.
They said it won’t be real.
It was just gonna be a scare tactic
to scare him into going to rob the bank.
They offered me $5000.
I was high for about three days
and I called Kenny and told him:
“Can you give me some money now
if I tell you his name?”
He said, “I can give you some
crack now,” and I said okay.
I went down there and said,
“I know Brian.
And he’s, you know, he’s a pushover.
You could probably use him.”
I, um, set it up for the next week
to bring Brian over there.
I brought Brian over there.
Then he’s seen who Brian was and…
But I didn’t introduce them or anything.
I took him in, seen him, and took him out.
They asked me for his work schedule.
The next day Marge gave me $1500.
They told me it was gonna be
in the second week of August,
but they canceled it because
Marge had something to do.
She couldn’t be there.
[Borzillieri] What about the pre-robbery
meeting the day before?
The one that Barnes and Stockton
say that Brian was at?
Um, I was with Brian the day before
for a couple hours.
I don’t believe that he was there.
I know he was supposed to go to work
at 4:00 that night.
And he was with me from 12
until 2:30, which gave him time
to go home and get ready.
So, I don’t believe he was with them.
I had a lot of remorse for a lot of stuff
I did, and a lot of shame and guilt.
I definitely want justice
for Brian’s memory.
He wasn’t out to hurt nobody.
He had no parts in planning.
He had no idea what would happen to him.
[Borzillieri] For the next several weeks,
I kept Jessica’s secret
while I tried to confirm
what she told me.
I wrote Ken Barnes again,
told him Jessica had confessed.
Ken insisted Jessica was lying.
But the more he talked,
the more his story was falling apart.
This was one of the last times he called.
[operator] This call is from
a federal prison.
[Barnes] Marge and me and Rothstein
were eating pizza.
Brian was standing there
waiting to get paid for the pizza…
[Borzillieri] Why would he be waiting
to get paid if he was in on the robbery?
[Barnes] Well, because
he just delivered the pizza.
You know, he had to pay for the pizza.
[Borzillieri] Didn’t he know that was
the day of the robbery?
[Barnes] No, that was his surprise.
To him, it was a total surprise.
They didn’t tell him.
They tricked him into coming there
with the pizza.
By calling to tell him
they wanted a pizza delivered.
He came out not thinking about
what was gonna go on.
Because they hadn’t said nothing
to him yet.
[Borzillieri] So, you didn’t see them?
There was no day-before activity?
[Barnes] No. No.
[Borzillieri] So, I was told that when
Brian Wells arrived on August 28th,
he arrived and was looking
to be paid for the pizzas.
Okay, now, also…
[Marjorie] Who told you that?
-[Borzillieri] Who do you think?
[Marjorie] When are you gonna learn
that Barnes is making up shit?
Why whitewash Brian Wells?
That’s what I wanna know.
First of all, he was a coconspirator
and when you’re a coconspirator
there can’t be a death penalty case.
And he was a coconspirator.
I don’t know why you wanna believe
-these goddamn losers
-I think you–
and don’t wanna believe me. I was never
in their fucking category, period!
I am not some evil genius
who is greedy and wanted some guy
that looks retarded to rob a bank for me.
I didn’t even know this guy.
You’re an asshole
if you think otherwise.
[Borzillieri] This guy was innocent, you
guys wanted to avoid the death penalty.
I know this.
[Marjorie] First of all, you are
totally wrong. I am not “you guys.”
And if you say otherwise in the movie
I will sue your fucking balls off.
I didn’t have anything to do
with the goddamn crime.
[Borzillieri] For the rest of her life,
Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong insisted
she had nothing to do with the heist.
It is remarkable
that Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong,
someone who talks so much,
someone who’s often been called
has been able to manipulate people
and keep secrets.
She knows exactly who wrote
those bank hostage notes,
who decided to make the bomb live…
and who the mastermind is,
the person ultimately responsible
for the death of Brian Wells.
Bill Rothstein knew, too,
and he went to his grave protecting Marge.
Long after the trial,
one of Bill’s friends
gave me a green duffel bag
Bill had taken from his house
after he sold it, before he died.
It was filled with his prized possessions.
his parents’ glasses,
When I looked inside,
one of the pages was dog-eared.
It was an old Peter, Paul and Mary tune
called, “I Have a Song to Sing,”
about a lonely man with a sad soul
who longs for the love of a lady.
[Bremner] Unlike a lot of other people
who dated Marge, he never wound up dead.
It’s an interesting dynamic.
He was sort of
the one guy that she dated
that kind of survived that process.
So, I don’t know what that means.
If their relationship evolved
to the point where they were
friends and business partners
and they were able to do
this nefarious stuff together.
They had complementary skills.
If she’s the brains writing these things,
he was the handyman
who could create a cane gun
or could help put together the device
that ultimately ended Brian Wells’ life.
So, you know, maybe in their minds,
they had complementary skills,
or for whatever reason,
he never grew to the point
where she distrusted him enough
that she would want to take him out.
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.
-[dispatcher] Who is she to you, sir?
I helped her do some stuff
that I shouldn’t do.
She is extremely intelligent.
Manipulates people. Oh, yes!
[Borzillieri] There is nothing normal
about Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong.
She’s mentally ill,
but she’s also smart and cunning.
Able to get the men in her life,
even the one who said she broke his heart,
to do anything for her.
Marjorie was never
going to tell the truth.
Which is why questions about FBI major
case number 203 will go unanswered,
and why no one has ever been charged
with the murder,
the very public execution of Brian Wells.
[officer] Gonna need a radio out here.
[cameraman] This guy’s looking
right at us.
It’s gonna go off.
I’m not lying.
|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|