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Cops: Man's Plot to Kill His Wife Was a 'Mind-Boggling' One

Pa. police say William Dankesreiter rigged tripwire at top of basement stairs
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 7, 2020 9:07 AM CDT

(Newser) – For better or worse has veered into "worse" territory for a Pennsylvania woman, with her husband of nearly three decades now facing charges for attempted murder. "I'm a mess," 59-year-old Laura Dankesreiter tells Fox News. "You don't plan on your husband of 27 years trying to kill you." How William Joseph Dankesreiter Jr., 60, of Derry Township allegedly tried to off his spouse: by placing a tripwire at the top of the 10 wooden stairs leading to the basement, hoping she'd take an "accidental" tumble onto the concrete floor below. Pennsylvania State Police say he attached fishing line to eye hooks about 3 inches above the floor at the basement's entrance, and that his wife was his intended victim. She nearly was: Laura Dankesreiter says she actually did trip over the wire on Saturday, as she went to get something out of the freezer for breakfast, but she fell backward instead of forward.

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"If I went forward I probably wouldn't be here today," she notes. Per WPXI, she reportedly told police she's long been the victim of both verbal and physical abuse from her husband. William Dankesreiter was arrested as he arrived home while his wife was talking to police, whom she'd called to the house after she'd tripped. "It's kind of mind-boggling someone would do something so deviant," a PSP rep says. "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." William Dankesreiter has been charged with attempted homicide, assault, and reckless endangerment, per TribLIVE. He's being held at Westmoreland County Prison on a $500,000 bond. Meanwhile, per KDKA, his wife has filed a protection from abuse order against him in case he gets out. (Read more attempted murder stories.)

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