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February 09, 2007

Geraldo's Gonna Get It!

Geraldo Rivera had better watch his back. He's about to be sued by an Erie, PA woman...and she killed her last two boyfriends.

Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong versus Geraldo Rivera.

It's an unusual matchup, but one that is really on its way to taking place, in some form or another, at the Erie County Courthouse.

The unsolved case of Brian Wells, the victim in the pizza bomber case, is believed to be at the center of the dispute.

The lawyer for Diehl-Armstrong has filed a one-page legal document indicating that the well-known figure in the Wells investigation plans to sue the well-known Fox News correspondent, who extensively featured Diehl-Armstrong in "The Pizza Bomber Mystery," his nationally televised special on the Wells case in August 2005.

The one-page document, known as a writ of summons, filed at the courthouse Tuesday, is a precursor to a full-blown civil complaint. The writ provides no indication about the claims in the potential suit, and it states only that Diehl-Armstrong is putting Rivera on notice that she "has commenced a legal action" against him.

Diehl-Armstrong is serving a seven- to 20-year state prison sentence for her plea of guilty but mentally ill to charges that she fatally shot her boyfriend, James Roden, whose body was found in a freezer in September 2003.

Diehl-Armstrong's personal lawyer, Leonard D'Ambrosio, who filed the writ, was unavailable for comment. The court records show no record of whether D'Ambrosio has arranged to have the writ served on Rivera, who works for Fox News, based in New York City.

A spokeswoman for Fox had no comment.

"We don't comment on pending litigation," she said.

Lawyers for Fox will get a chance to respond to the writ -- and any suit that might follow -- by filing documents at the Erie County Courthouse. No matter what happens with a civil suit, the filing of the writ alone adds yet another dimension to the bizarre case of Wells, the 46-year-old pizza deliveryman who was killed when a bomb locked to his neck exploded after he attempted to rob a bank in Summit Township on Aug. 28, 2003.

Rivera's special, which first aired Aug. 20, 2005, focused on Diehl-Armstrong, 57, who is at the State Correctional Institution at Muncy.

Based on interviews the Erie Times-News has conducted with people close to the case, Diehl-Armstrong is known to have been upset with Rivera's portrayal of her. Rivera in the report alluded to Diehl-Armstrong's past, including her acquittal on charges that she killed another boyfriend, Robert Thomas, in the mid-1980s.

Much of the FBI investigation into the Wells case has focused on people associated with Diehl-Armstrong. Police on Sept. 21, 2003, found Roden's body in a freezer at the then-residence of William A. Rothstein, a handyman and electrician who was twice engaged to Diehl-Armstrong.

Rothstein's house was at 8645 Peach St. in Summit Township, near the spot where the FBI believes Wells had the bomb locked to his neck after he stopped to deliver pizza. The FBI questioned Rothstein in the Wells case up to the day Rothstein died of cancer at age 60 in July 2004.

As part of the Wells probe, the FBI in March and May searched a house at 617 Perry St. in Erie, then the residence of Kenneth E. Barnes, another of Diehl-Armstrong's acquaintances. Barnes is in Erie County Prison, where he was sentenced in August to serve 11 to 23 months followed by 12 years of probation on drug charges.

Source: Erie Times-News

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