The Dateline episode “Death Trap” investigates the murder of 46-year-old Brian Wells. The pizza deliveryman in Erie, Pennsylvania was caught robbing a bank in August 2003. (He demanded $250,000 but left with $8,702 in a bag.) When surrounded by police outside of the bank, police noticed a strange metal collar around Wells’s neck. Wells said three men put the collar on him (which was connected to a live bomb on his chest) and ordered him to rob the bank. With news camera crews on site, the bomb detonated and instantly killed Wells. The event was broadcast on television. The Dateline episode reveals the people behind the bank robbery plot including Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong, who 15 years after the robbery was found guilty of armed bank robbery, conspiracy to commit armed bank robbery, and of using a destructive device in a crime. She consistently denied her involvement.
In 2008, a judge ruled Diehl-Armstrong incompetent to stand trial (diagnosed with bipolar disorder and references to schizophrenia) and sentenced her to life in prison. In 2017, Diehl-Armstrong died in prison of breast cancer. She was 68. The former high school class valedictorian and musical prodigy started to suffer from mental illness in her early 20s. Her life is the subject of the Netflix documentary Evil Genius: The True Story of America’s Most Diabolical Bank Heist. Below is the trailer. Dateline airs Fridays at 9 pm on NBC.