A Florida man will spend life in prison after a jury convicted him in the 2018 brutal slaying of his wife after she refused to appear on a home renovation reality TV show, prosecutors said.
David Tronnes, 55, was found guilty of first-degree murder this week in the strangling and beating death of his wife Shanti Cooper-Tronnes, 39, in the couple’s Orlando home.
An Orange County jury returned with the verdict Wednesday after deliberating for five hours at the conclusion of the five-day trial, prosecutors said in a news release. A judge immediately sentenced Tronnes to life in prison.
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Fight over home renovations
Jurors determined Cooper-Tronnes was killed on April 24, 2018, in the couple’s house after a dispute concerning home renovations.
“Tronnes had spent thousands of dollars on renovations and had hopes of appearing on the reality television show, “Zombie House Renovations,” prosecutors wrote in the release. “This led to the couple experiencing problems in their marriage. Cooper-Tronnes’ refusal to appear on the show upset Tronnes to the point that it led to her murder.”
During the renovation of their home, Tronnes slept in the garage while the victim slept in a one-bedroom studio on the property.
Evidence presented during the trial, prosecutors said, showed the victim was killed in the bedroom and Tronnes “attempted to clean up” prior to police arriving on the scene.
Tronnes claimed he found his wife in the bathtub after spending the day cleaning and walking his dogs, prosecutors said.
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Autopsy results revealed homicide
But a medical examiner, prosecutors said, testified facial injuries, blood evidence and bruises on the victim’s eyes proved she was killed.
Prior to being arrested, Orlando Police Department investigators said Tronnes showed little remorse during his interrogation.
Detectives arrested Tronnes four months later and charged him with murder.
Tronnes, who has been incarcerated at the Orange County jail since his arrest, was remanded to the Florida Department of Corrections after being convicted.
Natalie Neysa Alund is a senior reporter for USA TODAY. Reach her at [email protected] and follow her on X @nataliealund.