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Brian Douglas Wells

Died when: 46 years 286 days
Star Sign: Scorpio

Brian Douglas Wells (November 15, 1956 – August 28, 2003) was an American pizza delivery man who died during a complex plot involving a bank robbery, scavenger hunt and homemade explosive device near his hometown of Erie, Pennsylvania. Wells, who was surrounded by police, was killed when an explosive collar locked to his neck detonated. It is known as the "collar bomb" or "pizza bomber" case. The incident was shown live on television. Wells's involvement in the plot is a matter of controversy. Investigators concluded and a federal prosecutors' indictment alleged Wells was a knowing participant in the bank robbery but was told the bomb was fake and did not know his co-conspirators intended him to die. Wells's family said he was not a willing participant in the incident. The multiple aspects of the crime meant the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) led an investigative task force in conjunction with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) and the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP). It is the only crime of its kind; CNN described it as "one of the most complicated and bizarre crimes in the annals of the FBI". The incident has gained extensive coverage in mass media, including the Netflix series Evil Genius. A federal grand jury indicted Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong and Kenneth Barnes on charges of bank robbery, conspiracy, and weapons charges. Fellow co-conspirator William "Bill" Rothstein had died and his roommate Floyd Stockton was given immunity from prosecution so he could testify against Diehl-Armstrong. In 2008, U.S. District Judge Sean J. McLaughlin sentenced Barnes to 45 years in federal prison. Two years later, Diehl-Armstrong was sentenced to life in prison.
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