The host of Zombie House Flipping testified that the victim seemed “unhappy” a week before her murder
David Tronnes, who claimed he found his wife, Shanti Cooper-Tronnes, dead in a bathtub has been found guilty of her murder. This comes after the apparent “tension” in their marriage after they made a brief appearance on A&E’s Zombie House Flipping.
Where It All Began
The former guest of the show was found guilt of murder in the first degree on Wednesday in Orlando, Florida and will serve a life sentence in prison.
As per the official statement from the Orange-Osceola State Attorney’s Office, Cooper-Tronnes tragically lost her life on April 24, 2018, due to a brutal assault that occurred in at the shared residence.
The couple had “a dispute concerning home renovations.” Prosecutors share that Tronne’s hopes of appearing on the show after spending “thousands of dollars on renovations” lead to the couple “experiencing problems in their marriage.”
They claim it was Cooper-Tronnes’ “refusal to appear on the show” that “upset Tronnes to the point that it led to her murder.”
During the trial, prosecutors outlined how the two individuals connected through online platforms shortly after their divorces from their previous partners. Tronnes bought a home and relocated to Florida to be closer to Cooper-Tronnes. Unfortunately, the residence that he purchased sadly deteriorated into a state of neglect.
“The plan was, he was going to purchase the house, they would live in the house and eventually do renovations as they lived there,” explained prosecutor Michael Smith. “Smith claimed Tronnes stopped working completely after moving, making Cooper-Tronnes’ the “sole bread winner.”
The home continued to fall apart which “caused an obvious tension in the relationship,” Smith said. In addition to this, Smith claimed the couple would “argue and bicker about the home” on a regular basis. It got to the point where they lived on separate sides of the house for “a long period of time.”
It was Tronnes’ idea to reach out to the producers of Zombie House Flipping. While they didn’t express interest during their initial property visit, they recognized its potential when they returned for a second inspection and observed the extent of its deterioration.
Smith said Tronnes thought of the show as “sort of a lifeline,” because with the show’s help, they could improve the value of the home by getting “upgrades to the construction.” All they had to do was agree to be on the show.
“The problem was that in order to be on the show, they had to halt their current renovation plans and leave the house “in a demolished state” for months until they could film”, explains Smith. “This led to further frustration.”
Zombie House Flipping Host, Keith Ori Testifies
Keith Ori, the show’s host, testified about a meeting he had with the couple about a week before her murder. He explained that it was difficult to arrange a time to meet them both in person, but their appearance on the show depended on it to ensure they wouldn’t back out.
“She was unhappy to be there and it was a tense state. We laid everything out, she said she was fully on board with the renovation and then she left,” Ori said on the stand. “It was obvious she was unhappy with something. She was only there as long as she absolutely had to be and then left.”
“She was tense. Appeared to be mildly upset, annoyed, frustrated at something,” Ori recalled. “I had no idea what the reason might have been. But she didn’t want to be there, at that meeting.”
While Ori had no other interaction with the Cooper-Tronnes, he does claim that he received a text message from Tronnes the day after her death.
“I expressed I don’t know what’s going on and I don’t want anything to do with it,” said the TV show host.
According to the State Attorney’s Office, trial evidence revealed that Cooper-Tronnes was fatally attacked in the bedroom.Tronnes, on the other hand, claimed that he discovered her lifeless in the bathtub, having spent the day cleaning and walking his dogs.
“The medical examiner testified that facial injuries, blood evidence and bruises on the victim’s eyes told a different story,” they wrote, also revealing that evidence also showed “Tronnes attempted to clean up prior to police arriving on scene.”
During interrogation, investigators reported that Tronnes was showing “little remorse” and didn’t “shed a tear over his wife’s death.”
In this video from the interrogation, one detective bluntly told Tronnes that his story was “B.S.” while adding, “Nobody is going to believe that. Nobody. If you maintain that, you’re going to look like a fool. It’s complete hogwash.”
Tronnes Verdict Revealed; His Son Read A Heartbreaking Impact Statement
Following five hours of deliberation, the jury rendered a verdict of guilty. Prior to Tronnes’ sentencing, Jackson, Cooper-Tronnes’ son from her previous marriage, delivered an impact statement in the courtroom:
“My mother was the best person I ever knew … it’s like a hole in my heart that I can’t fill or fix,” he said, breaking down into tears almost immediately. “She didn’t die peacefully, she did not deserve anything that happened to her that night.”
“My family and I have been waiting about five years for justice. I miss her so much,” he continued. “I would have never thought the day before would be the last time I would see my mother alive. She was the best mom I could ever ask for. That’s it.”
Tronnes has been given 30 days to appeal the judge’s decision.
Our condolences to the victim’s family.