Pennsylvania man accused of rigging non-explosive tripwire to kill wife by causing fatal fall

DERBY TOWNSHIP, Pa. — A Pennsylvania man has been arrested after state police say he plotted to kill his wife over the weekend by rigging a non-explosive tripwire at the top of a flight of stairs to the basement. The purpose was to trigger a fatal fall.

William Joseph Dankesreiter Jr., 60, of Derby Township, was being held on a $500,000 bond after his arrest on an attempted murder charge.

Pennsylvania State Police said the intended target was his wife, Laura Dankesreiter.

Laura, 59, said she actually tripped over the wire but didn’t fall.

Police said metal eye hooks secured a fishing line about three inches above the carpet right at the door that led to the basement of the couple’s home. It was concealed by the trim, and below were 10 wooden steps and a concrete landing below, WPXI reported.

“It’s kind of mind boggling someone would do something so deviant to try and hurt someone,” said Trooper Steve Limani with PSP Greensburg. “I don’t know how long he was thinking this through, but you could definitely see there was line tied across — there was nothing accidental about this.”

“I am very fortunate,” she said. “I went backward instead of forward.”

She added, “If I went forward I probably wouldn’t be here today.”

Laura called police to the home Saturday after her near fall.

William was arrested when he drove up as she was speaking to troopers.

“I’m a mess,” Laura told Fox News Tuesday. “You don’t plan on your husband of 27 years trying to kill you.”


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