New information surfaced in the murder investigation of Brian Wells. His name is, arguably, not as memorable as his occupation. Brian Wells delivered pizzas.
Sunday, his family marked the second anniversary of his death and hope for some resolution to the bizarre circumstances that led to it: cryptic instructions, a bank robbery and a bomb strapped to the deliveryman’s neck.
After all this time, no arrests have been made and investigators say there are no new leads. But, the FBI says this was not a random crime.
“Brian Wells was identified as the person to be targeted in this case,” says Bob Rudge, FBI. “We don‘t believe that it was a random attack on just an unknown pizza delivery person.”
Two years, four full-time investigators, and more than 600 interviews after a bank robbery unfolded, the FBI says this crime was not about money, but murder — a plot to kill Wells and officers coming to his aid.
But John Wells, who has been following the search for his brother's killer, disagrees.
“They didn‘t know who they were going to get when they called that pizza shop. They didn’t know Brian was going to come up and take that delivery,” says John Wells.
While investigators do call Wells a murder victim, they will not exonerate him because too many questions remain. Was he somehow part of this elaborate plan? Was he duped into thinking he would walk away alive?
“If, after two years into this investigation, they won‘t let the public know that an innocent man died, I think that shows a little bit about the quality of the investigators in this case. They know my brother was not involved,” says John Wells.
The afternoon unfolded like a horrible episode of “The Twilight Zone”: 46-year-old Wells delivered a pie on the afternoon of August 28, 2003. He was next seen strapped into a collar bomb, robbing a bank with a gun fashioned out of a cane and nine pages of instructions leading him on a deadly scavenger hunt.
Police apprehended him after the robbery. Then, while local news cameras rolled, the bomb exploded, killing Wells.
“You heard the explosion,” recounts eyewitness Dina McPhee. “It sounded like a gunshot, basically, a shotgun going off. You saw a cloud of white smoke.”
Investigators refuse to comment on suspects. But some reports suggest they are investigating Floyd Stockton Jr., a convicted rapist currently serving time in Washington state. Stockton once lived on the same road where Wells delivered the pizza.
In another twist, shortly after Wells was killed, a body was found in the freezer of the home Stockton shared with roommate William Rothstein. The body belonged to the ex-boyfriend of Rothstein‘s friend, Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong. Armstrong pleaded guilty to that murder and is currently serving time. Rothstein died of cancer last year.
According to former FBI profiler and MSNBC analyst Clint Van Zandt, the physical evidence links up. “The area is not a huge area. Whoever that person or the individual were lived, worked, somehow had a connection with Erie, Pa.,” he says. “If they find the right suspect, they ought to be able to link him to the case.”
The family of Brian Wells wants the nine-page letter published in a national forum. They say this case could be solved similarly to the way the Unabomber case was solved — by someone recognizing the writing style or even the handwriting of the mastermind behind this killing.
“The family and the community need results,” says John Wells. “There‘s a group of killers out there. And people need to know that.”
Investigators now look to the public for clues, reportedly tips away from solving the crime.