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Provo man gets 30 days in jail for setting booby traps on hiking trail

Court » His partner, sentenced last week, will spend only 20 days in jail for setting traps in Provo Canyon.

First Published Oct 24 2012 04:14 pm • Last Updated Feb 07 2013 11:32 pm

A Provo man will spend 30 days in jail after he and a friend placed booby traps near a crude fort along a hiking trail.

Kai Matthew Christensen, 21, was sentenced Wednesday in 4th District court to serve the jail time and complete 18 months of probation.

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According to court documents, Christensen and Benjamin Steven Rutkowski, 20, of Orem, built two traps around a manmade shelter near the Big Springs trailhead in Provo Canyon: a suspended ball of rocks and sharpened sticks that would "swing at face level of a person" who triggered a trip wire near the shelter’s entrance; and a second trip wire at another entrance that could cause someone to fall on sharpened sticks protruding from the ground.

The Forest Service officer who noticed the traps while patrolling the area said the traps "could cause significant or lethal" injuries, court documents state.

Rutkowski was sentenced last week to spend 20 days in jail and complete a year of probation. Court documents do not indicate why Christensen was ordered to serve more jail time.

Rutkowski’s attorney, Richard Gale, said the two men never intended to hurt humans with the traps.

"They were just messing around, and it was just a stupid decision. When he realized and thought about it, he went up there and tried to disable the devices but by that time the ranger had taken them down," Gale said. "I don’t think they ever really intended anybody to get caught in the thing. It was more games, capture the flag and military type stuff. Just a couple of boys messing around."

The men originally faced felony charges for making the traps. Both men, however, pleaded guilty earlier this year to lesser counts of class A misdemeanor reckless endangerment.

jmiller@sltrib.com

Twitter: @jm_miller


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