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Man convicted of killing wife who said no to 'Zombie House Flipping'

A Florida man was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday for the 2018 murder of his wife, with whom he'd been fighting about house renovations.
Man convicted of killing wife who said no to 'Zombie House Flipping'
Posted at 5:36 PM, Oct 20, 2023

A jury has found a Florida man guilty of murdering his wife after she refused to appear on a home renovation reality show.

David Tronnes was immediately sentenced to life in prison for the first-degree murder conviction Wednesday in the case that stems from 2018, when Tronnes claims he found his wife, Shanti Cooper-Tronnes, dead in a bathtub.

Prosecutors say Tronnes and his wife had been having marital problems at the time, particularly due to money and issues with the fixer-upper home they had bought together.

According to Court TV, notes detectives obtained from Cooper-Tronnes' computer show her disdain with the project and the toll it was taking on the couple and their bank accounts.

"He keeps telling me how much money has been spent on this house and that he will almost have 1M into it," a note read. "We are no further along into the renovation and our relationship is getting worse."

Jury members were told Tronnes spent thousands of dollars renovating the home with hopes of appearing on the Orlando-based reality show, "Zombie House Flipping," but his wife refused to go on. This upset Tronnes "to the point that it led to her murder," prosecutors said.

On the day of Cooper-Tronnes' murder, officers noted Tronnes' response seemed to be "rehearsed and disingenuous" along with being inconsistent.

Tronnes told authorities he pulled his wife from the tub after seeing her head "submerged" under still running water. But officers at the scene noted she was fully clothed in a dry tub, with its surrounding areas being dry, too. 

"The decedent's clothing looked damp but was not soaking wet as if she was just removed from a tub full of water. The blood I observed on her skin was also dried blood," the officer report said, per Court TV.

Cooper-Tronnes' death was later ruled a homicide after a medical examiner found she had died from strangulation and blunt force trauma.

Tronnes was arrested four months after the murder and has maintained his innocence.

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