Skip

Explosive Revelation
July 11, 2007 12:49 PM   Subscribe

Erie bomb victim was the dupe in a greedy plan. This story has always freaked me out...and now it freaks me out in brand new ways.
posted by punkfloyd (100 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
oh, this is just the beginning. I don't know if the prosecutor is right about the pizza guy but his family sure is pissed. And I'm not willing to believe the prosecutor based on what was said today. Stay tuned.
posted by etaoin at 12:54 PM on July 11, 2007


Meth/Crack + All night violent movie marathons = weird schemes to rob banks. Poor bastard.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:57 PM on July 11, 2007


Wow, that's a really fucked up story.
posted by puke & cry at 12:59 PM on July 11, 2007 [2 favorites]


I've been following this story since the beginning and oddly enough was thinking about it just yesterday before seeing this news. The death toll, strange revelations, bizarre items, etc. make it one of the more fascinating true crime stories in recent memory if not ever.
posted by cell divide at 1:02 PM on July 11, 2007


God damn this is a lot of blood and human ruin on behalf of one battleaxe of a woman who didn't want to get a job.

It's tough picking a saddest part, but I think the bit about how Mr. Wells could have slipped the bomb off quite easily the whole time is a contender.
posted by EatTheWeak at 1:08 PM on July 11, 2007


"Greed was their inspiration. Death was just a byproduct," said Ray Morrow, an FBI agent in Pittsburgh.

That so needs to be a tagline for an action film.
posted by NationalKato at 1:10 PM on July 11, 2007 [8 favorites]


What awful, awful people.
posted by Mister_A at 1:10 PM on July 11, 2007


That article is positively baffling. It reads like the synopsis of a poorly conceived FX Network movie script dashed out in thirty minutes by two coked-up waiters with stars in their eyes.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 1:11 PM on July 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


Well, I just read through that entire link, written like a wannabe cheap-crime novel, and no where do I see a scintilla of evidence that Wells was involved. I'm not saying he wasn't but the linked blogger buys every word and yet, there's no evidence presented.
posted by etaoin at 1:12 PM on July 11, 2007


I always remember that guy sitting there. I was wondering if they ever figured out anything... none of the story made any sense at all.

Oh, and what Mister_A said.
posted by miss lynnster at 1:13 PM on July 11, 2007


etaoin:
YOU ASK. MACH5 DELIVERS.
posted by Mach5 at 1:13 PM on July 11, 2007


This sorta brings it to life. I never knew the explosion was filmed.

*****warning graphic*****
*****nsfw*****
posted by punkfloyd at 1:17 PM on July 11, 2007 [4 favorites]


I still don't believe it. Maybe evidence will be released supplying some missing pieces, but I can't wrapped my mind around someone willingly putting a live bomb around his neck.
posted by RavinDave at 1:18 PM on July 11, 2007


Family members exploded at a federal press conference today that outlined Wells' role.

So this is a genetic thing?

*Waits for the Tarantino/Coen Brothers film*
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 1:25 PM on July 11, 2007 [9 favorites]


I can't wrapped my mind around someone willingly putting a live bomb around his neck.

Oh, and by the way *click*, the bomb's real.
posted by graventy at 1:26 PM on July 11, 2007


That article is positively baffling. It reads like the synopsis of a poorly conceived FX Network movie script dashed out in thirty minutes by two coked-up waiters with stars in their eyes.

Exactly, but the same creativity that drives hack scriptwriters drives hack criminals.
posted by delmoi at 1:26 PM on July 11, 2007


Also, you could've padded out that post more. There's the site put up by Well's family. There's the Americas Most Wanted Site. And of course, the video with the fake explosion edit for an ending (apparently the explosion left a big hole in his chest but didn't make a huge Hollywood-esque horror movie explosion.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:26 PM on July 11, 2007


I'm not sure how I'll feel with myself if I click that link. I'm tempted... but thinking I may be better off if I continue to be a person who hasn't seen video of that man having a bomb go off in his face.
posted by miss lynnster at 1:27 PM on July 11, 2007 [2 favorites]


I still don't believe it. Maybe evidence will be released supplying some missing pieces, but I can't wrapped my mind around someone willingly putting a live bomb around his neck.

He didn't know it was live until they had put it on him. Up until then he had thought the bomb was fake.
posted by delmoi at 1:27 PM on July 11, 2007


*****nsfw*****

The ending is fake...
posted by Burhanistan at 1:29 PM on July 11, 2007


miss lynnster: wise enough, but I don't think they released the footage of him dying, so someone rigged an obvious fake at the the end.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:30 PM on July 11, 2007


Out of all the awful and blood-steeped images and stories I've been bombarded with at least every few days for the last two decades, there are one or two that I just couldn't take with equanimity and that haven't left me alone since. This is one of them. Even though after I first heard about it I have actively tried to avoid any more information on it, that few seconds' of film I saw four years ago still creeps into my mind to horrify me far too often. I don't know why this particular story, out of so many murders, bombings, graphic images, etc., I've seen and heard about, should have affected me so deeply, but it did.
posted by frobozz at 1:38 PM on July 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


is that really fake? oh please say it's fake.
posted by punkfloyd at 1:38 PM on July 11, 2007


The ending is fake...

SPOILER
posted by monju_bosatsu at 1:47 PM on July 11, 2007


punkfloyd: The video cuts to a different angle (sloppy cut at that), where he's at the back of a different car rather than at the front of a cop car.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:48 PM on July 11, 2007


is that really fake? oh please say it's fake.

YouTube is blocked at work, so I can't say, but the video that I saw when the story first broke where the bomb explodes and he falls over -- that was real.

I would not be surprised if Wells was, as the prosection claims, a willing participant...until he was told that the bomb was real. 46 years old, working as a pizza delivery guy and associating in his spare time with hookers and criminals? Seems like only a matter of time before he'd agree to some scheme.
posted by solid-one-love at 1:50 PM on July 11, 2007


That article is positively baffling. It reads like the synopsis of a poorly conceived FX Network movie script dashed out in thirty minutes by two coked-up waiters with stars in their eyes.

You're reminding me why I love the FX network.
posted by Bookhouse at 1:54 PM on July 11, 2007


Wow, that article had a lot of detail I'd never read anywhere else.

The ABC story I read this morning described Diehl-Armstrong as "a high school class valedictorian with multiple graduate degrees." I wonder what they're in...
posted by zebra3 at 1:55 PM on July 11, 2007


I'm tempted... but thinking I may be better off if I continue to be a person who hasn't seen video of that man having a bomb go off in his face.

If you're not sure,don't. I watched the Daniel Pearl video (as well as the original collar bomb and a couple of other beheading videos that made the rounds) and in retrospect I wish I hadn't. I can't really explain it but I some how feel "emptier" after having seen those videos.

I'm still saddened by this case, can you imagine the sheer terror of knowing you have a live bomb around your neck and time is running out but everyone is just standing there looking at you?
posted by MikeMc at 1:56 PM on July 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


He didn't know it was live until they had put it on him. Up until then he had thought the bomb was fake.

TFA: "But just before they clicked it around his neck, they told him the truth: The bomb was real, and it would kill him if he did not do exactly what he was told."
posted by Horace Rumpole at 1:58 PM on July 11, 2007


I'm surprised the Feds were unable to link it to al Qaida. Ain't there no Muslims in Ohio?

The ending isn't fake, just badly edited. If you were filming a guy who was about to blow up wouldn't you find a safer place to stand?

And "sheer terror"? I'd wish they'd locked it onto my skull instead so I wouldn't feel any pain. Death ain't bad, but dying bites.
posted by davy at 2:00 PM on July 11, 2007


Seems like only a matter of time before he'd agree to some scheme.

Am I wrong in thinking that he (the victim) was developmentally disabled in some way? I thought I had read that somewhere.
posted by MikeMc at 2:01 PM on July 11, 2007


Ok, you have to be as dumb as these crackheads to think that video ending is real. The bones are all gray...if a guy blows up his bones are going to be red and covered with meat. Look again.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:03 PM on July 11, 2007


Jeez, Burhanistan, thanks for that delightful image.
posted by ottereroticist at 2:06 PM on July 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


Ah, maybe it is real...I don't know about anything really. Anyone have any crack?
posted by Burhanistan at 2:10 PM on July 11, 2007


Diehl-Armstrong is bipolar and often flies into screaming rages when she becomes annoyed or doesn't get what she wants.

Why is it always "bipolar?"

Why isn't it just "Diehl-Armstrong often flies into screaming rages when she becomes annoyed or doesn't get what she wants."
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:11 PM on July 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


etaoin:
YOU ASK. MACH5 DELIVERS.
posted by Mach5 at 4:13 PM on July 11 [+] [!]

Well, I've read this, too but all it consists of is the indictment paper, none of which proves anything. Again, I don't know, maybe the guy was connected, but I see zero evidence presented. Zero. I'll go read those other sites, but what disturbs me today is that so many--mostly the hacks on TV--are just picking up on this and accepting it. And one of those legal-eagle-beagle types that the cables put on was just complaining that the brother must not want the case to be solved because he was denouncing the prosecutor! What the hell?
posted by etaoin at 2:11 PM on July 11, 2007


Uh, Burhanistan, the video is real. That's what it looks like when people die in real life. The video is cut to a minute because the real thing lasted a lot longer than that. The angle change is because it was either a different camera or they moved.
posted by puke & cry at 2:19 PM on July 11, 2007


Jesus, what a story. Has it been optioned for a movie yet?
posted by gottabefunky at 2:22 PM on July 11, 2007


Here's another angle. AMW says it imploded inward. That same blue car is visible, so yeah...
posted by Burhanistan at 2:23 PM on July 11, 2007


You know it's a messed-up story when the dead guy in the freezer is basically just a footnote to the rest of the tale.
posted by Rangeboy at 2:29 PM on July 11, 2007 [11 favorites]


"But just before they clicked it around his neck, they told him the truth: The bomb was real, and it would kill him if he did not do exactly what he was told."

Wouldn't it make more sense to strap a bomb around someone who couldn't identify you, a complete stranger? Why pick him?
posted by bobo123 at 2:32 PM on July 11, 2007


He didn't know it was live until they had put it on him. Up until then he had thought the bomb was fake.
TFA: "But just before they clicked it around his neck, they told him the truth: The bomb was real, and it would kill him if he did not do exactly what he was told."


So in other words, TFA says the same thing that I said, which makes sense since I had just read it before posting... (notwithstanding the difference between "until" and "immediately prior")
posted by delmoi at 2:33 PM on July 11, 2007


Wouldn't it make more sense to strap a bomb around someone who couldn't identify you, a complete stranger? Why pick him?

Lazyness? Maybe they wanted someone who they thought they could "count on" to be afraid enough to do what they said.

Ok, you have to be as dumb as these crackheads to think that video ending is real. The bones are all gray...if a guy blows up his bones are going to be red and covered with meat. Look again.

I think those are pieces of metal from the bomb or something.
posted by delmoi at 2:37 PM on July 11, 2007


Yes, I changed my mind. I suppose some part of me hoped it was fake, but damn it sure is disgusting. Strangely, though, I don't feel so terrible. Watching that poor guy get beheaded in Iraq a few years ago killed my goodness.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:46 PM on July 11, 2007


Wouldn't it make more sense to strap a bomb around someone who couldn't identify you, a complete stranger? Why pick him?

"OK, so when he tells the teller he's got a bomb on him, they'll give him the money. If he gets caught, he'll say he was jumped by some strangers, and they put the bomb on him. That way, they'll believe him. I mean, who straps a bomb to himself?"

"Yeah, and the bomb is fake, so he doesn't get hurt. And when the police find the fake bomb, they'll think he was fooled into thinking the bomb was real, so his story still holds water."

"Wait."

"What?"

"What if he doesn't get caught, and then takes the money himself and then calls the police anonymously and gives them our names?"

"Hmm ... OK, we make a real bomb but tell him it's fake when he first tries it on, so he goes along with the plan. Then when it's actually on him, we show him that it's real. Then he goes through with the plan and gives us the money at the end. We can kill him then, too."

"What if he says he'll tell the police anyway?"

"Then we tell him we'll tell the police that he was in on the whole thing. He's trapped."

And a few days later ... boom.

This is how stupid criminals operate. They think they're smart.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:47 PM on July 11, 2007


That reminds me, I need to rent Fargo again. Great film.
posted by afx237vi at 2:50 PM on July 11, 2007


what rangeboy said for real. yikes!
posted by snofoam at 2:51 PM on July 11, 2007


Am I wrong in thinking that he (the victim) was developmentally disabled in some way? I thought I had read that somewhere.

I don't think Wells is the only one who might have been developmentally disabled. Check the author of the article, in addition to the overall suckage there are entire sentences that aren't in anything even remotely resembling English.

One part that was in English that I particularly loved:
He was known as a man with simple tastes, caring for his three cats, eating Sunday meals with his mother and fixing his cars. He was a high school dropout, and in the last decade worked on and off delivering food at Mama-Mia's Pizza-Ria, a cramped five-table restaurant that catered to construction workers for lunch and young families for dinner.

What people didn't know was his affection for a prostitute.
DUN DUN DUNNNNNNN...

Hey guys, let's reframe the story so the victimized dead person turns out to be a perverted psychopath with a seedy secret life!
posted by tastybrains at 2:58 PM on July 11, 2007


ugh, didn't this happen in d.c. too?
posted by stratastar at 2:59 PM on July 11, 2007


P.S. I mock the article because my feeble brain can't even comprehend the inhumanity of what those fucking psychotic motherfuckers did to Wells. I don't even know what to say about it. It horrifies me what people do to other people and animals solely out of greed and/or morbid curiosity.
posted by tastybrains at 3:01 PM on July 11, 2007


I thought I was inured to horrible stories on the web, but this creeps me out on a profound level.
posted by turing_test at 3:07 PM on July 11, 2007


Kind of sad how when the police realized that wells had a bomb strapped to him, they stepped far away, leaving Wells handcuffed, and waited for the bomb to kill him.

I mean, sure, I understand that no police officer is willing to sacrifice his life in such a situation, but still-- they figured "he's going to die in 20 minutes. the best plan is to accept that it's going to happen, make sure he doesn't go anywhere, and get out of the way when it does."
posted by deanc at 3:12 PM on July 11, 2007


"Greed was their inspiration. Death was just a byproduct."

Kinda sums up the Bush Administration too.
posted by Flashman at 3:16 PM on July 11, 2007 [4 favorites]


Kind of sad how when the police realized that wells had a bomb strapped to him, they stepped far away, leaving Wells handcuffed, and waited for the bomb to kill him.

On the Wells family's site, it says that they didn't even call the bomb squad until Wells had been apprehended for 32 minutes. That is really infuriating and appalling.
posted by tastybrains at 3:17 PM on July 11, 2007


From the pictures and descriptions of the bomb, it probably could've been removed or the back arm cut with a bolt cutter without it detonating. Whoever made it must've been in a hurry or didn't know how to rig it to explode by any way other than the timer. So, he could've been saved by a ballsy cop who took a moment to lift up his shirt and look at the thing. But, how many people are even going to consider that in a situation where an explosion is imminent? Sad.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:17 PM on July 11, 2007


Someday, when I can afford to fund a nihilistic video game company, I'll make his scavanger hunt the first game I offer. Because this is so cruel and absurd that I expect it from art, not life.
posted by klangklangston at 3:21 PM on July 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


Actually, from the article "The device appeared to be sophisticated, but agents said it was built like a child's toy bracelet that would have snapped open, given the proper pressure." Apparently he could have forced it off but was too scared.
posted by puke & cry at 3:21 PM on July 11, 2007


So, he could've been saved by a ballsy cop who took a moment to lift up his shirt and look at the thing. But, how many people are even going to consider that in a situation where an explosion is imminent? Sad.

Then again, they took the time to cuff him.

It seems like if they had just tried to yank it open, which would have taken, what, an additional 10 seconds tops, it would have snapped right off.
posted by tastybrains at 3:21 PM on July 11, 2007


I wonder why the roommate ODed; guilt, depression, or another Diehl-Armstrong victim?
posted by Challahtronix at 3:29 PM on July 11, 2007


I picture Joan Didion writing a very fine piece on this.
posted by mykescipark at 3:37 PM on July 11, 2007


Prior MeFi discussion, at the time of the incident.
posted by Mid at 3:38 PM on July 11, 2007


Metafilter: the dead guy in the freezer is basically just a footnote
posted by mr_crash_davis at 3:40 PM on July 11, 2007


Here's a close-up of the bomb, linked in the prior thread (by me). It's the wires running along the collar that make it look like it has been tamper-proofed: cut the collar, damage the wires, boom.
posted by Mid at 3:41 PM on July 11, 2007


This will go down as the real-life Fargo.

Also, yeah, its truly a monument to the potential wickedness of humanity. There are at least 3 dead bodies here, and for what -- 8,000 bucks?

Criminals aren't just stupid, they're insane.
posted by Avenger at 3:54 PM on July 11, 2007


So the chick wanted him to rob a bank, to get money to hire a hitman to kill her father. And realizing that her boyfriend knew a lot of the details, she decided to kill him as well and stuff his body in a freezer for two and a half weeks?

This brings me to the obvious question; if she was demonstrably capable of killing, why didn't she just try to kill her father herself?

Ugh. This is like one of those Shakespearian tragedies where, looking at the facts, you just know everyone is going to end badly.
posted by quin at 3:59 PM on July 11, 2007


So in other words, TFA says the same thing that I said, which makes sense since I had just read it before posting... (notwithstanding the difference between "until" and "immediately prior")

Not that this is the most important point here, but yeah, there's a pretty significant difference between "before" (the article's version) and "after" (your version). As I read it, there was some period, however short, where the bomb was not yet in place, and he knew it was real.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 4:15 PM on July 11, 2007


Haunted me then, haunts me now. I saw the video at the time, and while not Hollywood Spectacular, it was horrible. Alive and terrified one second, gone the next.

I agree completely that if you're even a bit unsure whether to watch a video, don't. You can never unsee something terrible. I saw a video some years ago of a Chechen murdering a Russian soldier with a knife. I would give a lot never to have seen it.

(shudders)
posted by swerve at 4:24 PM on July 11, 2007




Every time I read about something horrible happening in Erie, I skim the story to see if it involved anybody I went to school with. They used to crop up somewhat regularly, but that's happening less often these days. Probably because many of those who hadn't left a long time ago are dead now or still in prison.

But no, I don't know any of the players this time.

Whatever it is that makes people do this, whether in the water, or the air, or the soil, that part of the country's got more than its share of it.
posted by ardgedee at 4:37 PM on July 11, 2007


All of this is gonna be a great movie.
posted by zardoz at 5:02 PM on July 11, 2007


I saw a video some years ago of a Chechen murdering a Russian soldier with a knife. I would give a lot never to have seen it.

I worked with a guy that loved loved loved the gore-no videos. I've seen a few -- we all have -- but I refused to see this one you mention, and refused to see others, like the Nick Berg beheading. My friend finally watched the Chechen video, and I guess he just finally hit the wall with that one. It was as if I could see the wind go out of his sails for this silly shit. After that, I refuse to see any of them now.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 5:34 PM on July 11, 2007


tastybrains writes "Hey guys, let's reframe the story so the victimized dead person turns out to be a perverted psychopath with a seedy secret life!"

To be fair, that's how he got mixed up with the people who put the bomb on him. Barnes rented rooms to Wells and that prostitute he was seeing. That's how they met. (And Barnes knew Diehl-Armstrong from earlier, and so on ...) I mean, it's not great writing, but the detail about his affection for a prostitute is establishing the original link between all these people.
posted by krinklyfig at 5:39 PM on July 11, 2007


zardoz writes "All of this is gonna be a great movie."

Probably not. It will likely end up in several made-for-tv movies. But it could be a great movie, if, say, the Coen brothers made it. They originally said that Fargo was based on true events, but that was just some hype. This might be just as interesting, with the right people. David Crosby could play Kenneth Barnes. He even has the seedy history part pretty much down.
posted by krinklyfig at 5:43 PM on July 11, 2007



To be fair, that's how he got mixed up with the people who put the bomb on him. Barnes rented rooms to Wells and that prostitute he was seeing. That's how they met. (And Barnes knew Diehl-Armstrong from earlier, and so on ...) I mean, it's not great writing, but the detail about his affection for a prostitute is establishing the original link between all these people.
posted by krinklyfig at 8:39 PM on July 11 [+] [!]


I'm gonna have to stop this before I sound like a total lunatic. But one more.

Erie is not a huge city. Coincidences happen; I still have not seen one single shred of evidence from the prosecutor that shows he was part of the plot. Knowing someone doesn't provide conspiracy.

I mean (and I may regret this), the wife of the first anthrax victiim back in 2001 was a real estate agent for the apartment building where the Sept.11 hijackers had rented. (or something like that, I'm doing this from memory). Does that prove a connection? Don't know, but I doubt it.
posted by etaoin at 5:59 PM on July 11, 2007


etaoin writes "I still have not seen one single shred of evidence from the prosecutor that shows he was part of the plot."

All I've seen is the indictment and the article. This page, section (f). I am pretty sure that B.W. refers to Brian Wells. Every time you see "unindicted co-conspirator B.W.," that's him. What sort of evidence are you talking about? Evidence shown to whom? What evidence do they have that ties these people to Wells in the first place? I'm not being rhetorical. I'm curious as to what evidence you've seen.
posted by krinklyfig at 6:15 PM on July 11, 2007


"As I read it, there was some period, however short, where the bomb was not yet in place, and he knew it was real."

Yeah but could he stop them or get away?

In Ukraine the Nazis pointed guns at Jews and told them to dig a big hole, then to jump down in it, after which they were shot. Did they know they would be shot in the hole before they jumped in? Does either answer exonerate the Nazis or make the Jews to blame (even partially)?

I think once you know you're done for it makes no real difference either way.
posted by davy at 6:31 PM on July 11, 2007


I myself have never made a bomb of any kind. I'm too afraid it'll go off and not kill me but just fuck me up really bad.
posted by davy at 6:33 PM on July 11, 2007


Whatever evidence exists ought NOT to be made public prior to a trial. To present the case in its entirety to be tried by the public in advance would not be fair to anyone.
posted by RichAromas at 6:39 PM on July 11, 2007


I remain as skeptical about his (Wells') direct involvement as I did when people mentioned it after the story broke. This is not at all because I consider it impossible but because the only evidence that I've seen comes from those currently saying whatever is necessary to minimize the damage to themselves. Conversely, I need a higher burden of proof than the testimony of the damned to make me believe beyond a reasonable doubt that Wells or almost anyone would knowingly allow a bomb to be strapped around their own neck.

I also think it's worth mentioning that these folks have almost all had about four years to develop and tune their respective stories to work in concert, except of course for the few who knew too much and perhaps were a liability to rat. They were found in freezers or dead of overdoses (or blown up).

It's a fascinating story, that is for damn sure...
posted by rollbiz at 6:47 PM on July 11, 2007


Also... To further Godwin the thread regarding davy's point, I think this speaks volumes.

Why didn't this guy run or resist or do anything besides sit and await his fate? I won't pretend that I know or to purport have the experience that would allow me to say for sure.
posted by rollbiz at 6:56 PM on July 11, 2007


Skepticism = "innocent until proven guilty", which was my point (that I sort of botched above). Absolutely we shouldn't accept that Wells was involved based solely on an indictment and/or news stories. What bothers me is that some seem to be saying "show me the evidence, then!". I think only the jury deserves to see the evidence until the trial is over. An indictment is not evidence in and of itself, but rather a statement of what the prosecution *intends* to prove at trial.
posted by RichAromas at 6:57 PM on July 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


All I've seen is the indictment and the article. This page, section (f). I am pretty sure that B.W. refers to Brian Wells. Every time you see "unindicted co-conspirator B.W.," that's him. What sort of evidence are you talking about? Evidence shown to whom? What evidence do they have that ties these people to Wells in the first place? I'm not being rhetorical. I'm curious as to what evidence you've seen

I haven't seen any evidence--that's the point. Evidence or even accusation of a specific action. The indictment, rightly, goes on in detail about what the other did. The prosecutor and cops had a lengthy, lengthy press conference today, nationally televised, in which they accused these people.

There was no statement as to why they thought he was involved and since he's dead, he can't defend himself. That's a particularly ugly thing to do. If you're going to name him, and mention him as an unindicted co-conspirator, you ought to at least say what you think he did, or how he was involved. He cannot clear his name. And that, i believe, is one of the reasons his family is so pissed off. A dead man and his family can't sue for libel.

It's sort of standard--right or wrong-- in these kinds of crime press conferences to at least suggest what the individuals did. In this case, they just linked him and left the information out there which is why the family started shouting during the press conference.
posted by etaoin at 7:08 PM on July 11, 2007


I am afraid one of the comments to the story made me laugh...

"Wells and the woman, Jessica Hoopsick, had sex roughly twice a month for about five years..."

Do you mean they had sex "approximately" twice a month or they had rough sex twice a month?


And remind me to tell you guys the "Frisbee of Death" story, which involves Berge's, a 50 gallon oil drum, and a 2" sapling...
posted by Samizdata at 7:12 PM on July 11, 2007


etaoin, as you may have suspected, I didn't see the actual press conference live, only selected sound bites / headlines. Sounds like you have a valid point.
posted by RichAromas at 7:13 PM on July 11, 2007


Oh, yeah, the Frisbee of Death was the end of my pyrotechnic career...
posted by Samizdata at 7:14 PM on July 11, 2007


Something about this story, perhaps how TV people started focusing on pizza guy last night when the story was leaking out, made me think of the USS Iowa turret explosion in 1989 and the Navy's attempt to falsely blame one of its sailors. Something more than the fact that both cases involved explosions. It took a huge amount of effort to get the Navy to back down. And what bothers me about this pizza guy case is that it's taken four years and they don't seem to have much. So it creeps me out.

This Wikipedia article kind of glosses over the struggle to clear the dead Iowa sailor:

At first, the NCIS investigators theorized that one of the dead crewmen, Clayton Hartwig, who died in the explosion, had placed an explosive device in the breech in a suicide attempt after the end of an alleged homosexual affair with another sailor. Hartwig had named Kendall Truitt, a fellow shipmate, as the sole beneficiary on a $50,000 life insurance policy, with double indemnity for accidental death. That policy kicked off a Naval criminal investigation that eventually concluded Hartwig was angry at Truitt over a cooling of their relationship, crafted a detonator and set off the blast. This conclusion was strongly disputed by others and this theory was later abandoned and Hartwig cleared.

posted by etaoin at 7:35 PM on July 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


Like RichAromas said above, the jury is the only group that gets to see the evidence until the trial is over. Until then, your outrage is pointless.
posted by puke & cry at 8:20 PM on July 11, 2007


Keep in mind this is just an indictment, which does not itself need to meet the beyond a reasonable doubt standard of proof. It's just probable cause to bring an indictment -- the same standard as required to issue a warrant. Also, dead people have no need to be presumed innocent.

So, they're only saying that they have a good reason to suspect that he knew in advance about at least part of the plan. Phone records, perhaps. Fingerprints in the wrong place.
posted by dhartung at 9:26 PM on July 11, 2007


I see what you mean etaoin. I too read the article and the indictment. The kind of "evidence" I was looking for would be something, anything directly linking Brian Wells to the planning of this crime....besides the claims of some of the most unreliable criminals ever.

I didn't even read anything that indicated that he even knew Lady MacMarjorie or Floyd the child rapist or William the dead mastermind (gah these people). The only person he knew was Barnes, because Barnes owned the cathouse he frequented, but it's quite a leap to think they were friends or co-conspirators. It's just as likely that they chose him because they knew he'd be an easy victim, fooled him into coming to the site where they were lying in wait, and forced the bomb around his neck.

It just seemed like the whole story was based on the word of Marjorie Diehl, Kenneth Barnes and Floyd.She angled for a reduced sentence in exchange for info, and Floyd got immunity. Why is their word believable? I can understand why the family was so upset. I hope there is more to it than this.
posted by Danila at 9:47 PM on July 11, 2007


i'm drawing a total blank right now, but i remember thinking at the time it was really similar to a movie or tv show. something that came before this was really similar, though fictional.
posted by andywolf at 10:37 PM on July 11, 2007


andywolf: Possibly Wedlock (with Rutger Hauer)? The "exploding prisoner collar" idea shows up in some other movies too. The Running Man maybe?
posted by hattifattener at 11:03 PM on July 11, 2007


God...what a loser.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 12:13 AM on July 12, 2007


I actually saw this one. It was on Law & Order: Criminal Intent. Googling for it takes me to an episode in season 3: Pas de Deux. If memory serves, it was actually a pretty good episode mainly due to some very interesting guest actors.
posted by Iosephus at 3:31 AM on July 12, 2007


Well this story just keeps getting even more depressing. That episode of Law & Order was Charles Rocket's last acting gig.
posted by miss lynnster at 7:27 AM on July 12, 2007


"there was some period, however short, where the bomb was not yet in place, and he knew it was real."

From the article:

"About 2:15 p.m., Wells drove to a wooded lot near Rothstein's home on Peach Street in Erie. Rothstein, Barnes and Stockton confronted him there and Wells, for the first time, learned that the device was real.

He wrestled with the men and tried to scamper away, but one of them fired a gun, causing Wells to stop. "

So if he was involved, he might have known they killed someone else or at least suspected they were capable of killing. Rather than die immediately, he decided to take his chances with the scavenger hunt.
posted by Crash at 11:11 AM on July 12, 2007


Wild! I'm so glad this story popped up again.
posted by agregoli at 2:05 PM on July 12, 2007


Yeah, it sounds like this is being spun to counter police incompetence with the chilling subtext that if he was involved, it was okay to let him die.

I mean, shit: He's there for that period of time, supposedly knows who did and knows it's a real bomb and doesn't drop any names? Come on.
posted by mobunited at 8:36 PM on July 12, 2007


Yeah, it sounds like this is being spun to counter police incompetence with the chilling subtext that if he was involved, it was okay to let him die.

Some jackasses strap a bomb to a guy's neck, and you uncork the vitriol for the cops?

/me waves hand and says, "meh."
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:30 PM on July 12, 2007


I'm from Erie. It's a nice town. Too bad it takes something so awful to get it on the map.
posted by puddinghead at 9:26 PM on July 14, 2007


« Older Also, it is most certainly two different girls.   |   And you stand there, and you... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post