Retired FBI agent and Gannon professor Gerald Clark, Ph.D. will participate in a book signing Thursday.
Clark released his newest book “Mania and Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong: Inside the Mind of a Female Serial Killer,” which was co-authored by journalist Ed Palattella, on Oct. 3.
Currently serving as Gannon’s criminal justice program chairman, Clark teaches and writes with years of experience working in law enforcement as a special agent for the FBI.
He has also served with the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS).
In 2012, Clark co-authored his first book with Palattella titled “Pizza Bomber: The Untold Story of America’s Most Shocking Bank Robbery,” based on FBI Major Case #203, popularly referred to as the “collar bomb” or “pizza bomber” case.
One of the most famous and publicized criminal cases to occur in Erie’s history, the botched bank robbery resulted in the death of pizza delivery man Brian Wells in August 2003.
Prior to his retirement from the FBI in 2011, Clark had served as the senior investigator on major crimes for the FBI’s Erie Resident Agency and was therefore given the title of lead investigator on the 2003 pizza bomber case.
The “Pizza Bomber” narrative was followed by the release of Clark and Palattella’s second book titled “A History of Heists: Bank Robbery in America” in July 2015.
Now, in his third work, Clark once again returns to Major Case #203 as he delves into the life of conspirator, accomplice and Erie native, Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong.
Prior to her involvement in the famous FBI case, Diehl-Armstrong was responsible for the death of two boyfriends.
Clark notes that many were introduced to Diehl-Armstrong in the duo’s first book, but the new work, which took roughly 18 months to complete, seeks to dive further into the life of female serial murderers and the development of forensic psychology and psychiatry.
According to Clark, it also seeks to analyze how the American justice system has grown to address issues of insanity and competency.
For the authors, the topic was also one of fascination. “Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong’s relationship with crime is unique in American criminal history,” Clark said. “She was as fascinating as she was deadly.”
Publishers Weekly highly praised Clark’s newest book in September.
“Despite the authors’ detailed knowledge of their subject, readers will emerge from this well-written volume wondering what exactly led this once-promising woman to a life of violent crime,” the review states.
From 6-8 p.m. Thursday, students and faculty are encouraged to join Clark and Palattella as they sign copies of their new book at the Barnes & Noble on Peach Street.
A portion of the proceeds will be donated to Erie-GAINS, a cause personally selected by Clark.
According to Erika Ramalho, director of Community and Government Relations at Gannon, those funds will help both faculty and students connect with Erie-GAINS initiatives developed by the university.
Clark’s son, Michael, a junior finance and marketing major at Gannon, said he is very proud of his father’s work.
“I hope he can continue to use his knowledge to benefit the Erie and Gannon communities,” he said.
“I would encourage all students to attend and learn a little more about a piece of Erie’s history.”