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Pizza-bomber robbery appeal rejected

By Bill Mears, CNN Supreme Court Proder
January 15, 2013 -- Updated 1618 GMT (0018 HKT)
Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong received a 30-year prison sentence in 2011.
Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong received a 30-year prison sentence in 2011.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Appeal in case of bizarre 2003 pizza-bomber bank robbery
  • Deliveryman wore a bomb attached to his neck; He was killed when it exploded
  • Prosecutors said he was forced to wear bomb
  • Woman said she was innocent and mentally incompetent to stand trial

Washington (CNN) -- A Pennsylvania woman convicted in a bizarre bank robbery that involved a pizza deliveryman with a bomb attached to his neck lost her Supreme Court appeal on Monday.

The justices, without comment, turned aside claims from Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong that she was innocent and mentally incompetent to stand trial.

Diehl-Armstrong, 63, was convicted of conspiracy and other charges related to the death of pizza deliveryman Brian Wells in 2003.

Authorities said Wells walked into a PNC Bank branch in Erie, Pennsylvania, on August 28, 2003, with a pipe bomb locked around his neck, and gave the teller a note demanding money. The robbery netted about $8,700.

Wells was killed when the bomb detonated as he sat in a parking lot after being stopped by police.

The case drew national attention and was the subject of an intense investigation.

Surveillance video shows Brian Wells robbing an Erie, Pennsylvania, bank in August 2003.
Surveillance video shows Brian Wells robbing an Erie, Pennsylvania, bank in August 2003.

Read details of the case, view timeline

Questions arose initially about whether Wells was a willing participant or a murder victim.

Prosecutors have long contended that Wells was involved in planning the robbery, but balked when he realized the bomb was real. They said he was threatened with a gun to make him wear it.

Diehl-Armstrong received a 30-year prison sentence in 2011.

"I am not a crazed killer," she said at her sentencing. "The true killers are still out there."

A federal appeals court rejected her appeal in November.

Diehl-Armstrong's case was delayed because she underwent treatment after the judge in the case found initially that she was mentally incompetent to stand trial.

A third suspect was sentenced to 45 years in prison and a fourth died shortly after the robbery of a drug overdose, officials said.

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