BUTLER (KDKA) – Originally, the meaning of the words “booby-trap” meant a practical joke, but there was nothing funny about what was waiting behind the door of a home in Franklin Township, Butler County.
State Police believe a man was trying to hurt his former girlfriend.
The sign on the door was enough to make the woman pause. It reads: “Smile, you’re on camera this time.” And was followed by an expletive.
“She decided not to enter through the door. She instead entered through a second-story window,” says Trooper Dan Kesten, of the Pennsylvania State Police Butler Barracks.
The woman had lived in the house on Unionville Road with Kenneth Gene Robinson.
“He kicked her out, probably about a week ago,” said neighbor Michelle Barnes.
Climbing through the window, Robinson’s former girlfriend first spotted a shotgun, and then she saw something strange.
“She also noticed that the door, the entry-way to the house had been booby-trapped,” says Trooper Kesten.
A string led from the door knob to a piece of plywood, embedded with three-inch nail, and attached to the ceiling.
Anyone opening the door would pull the string; the board would swing down with its protruding nails, and impale the unsuspecting person at the face or chest level.
“Troopers did note that the device actually did work,” said Trooper Kesten.
The results could have been lethal.
“Yes, at the very least, serious bodily injury,” he said.
Barnes says the events of the past few days in her neighborhood have been unnerving.
“It’s very scary,” she says. “I guess she tried to break in a couple of weeks ago because he had changed the locks and she wanted to get her stuff out of the house.”
Recently, the ex-girlfriend had filed a Protection from Abuse Order against Robinson. He told police that he rigged the booby-trap to prevent break-ins.
“You can’t just booby-trap your residence,” says Trooper Kesten.
That’s because under Pa. law, you are only permitted to use as much force as is necessary to stop somebody’s action. Without being home you have no possible way to gauge the necessary force needed.
Robinson is facing multiple charges including simple and aggravated assault and reckless endangerment.
He remains in the Butler County Prison.