David Tronnes murder trial: TV producer says couple’s Delaney Park home was ready to collapse

ORLANDO, Fla. — A producer on the show “Zombie House Flipping” told jury members that David Tronnes had stripped his house of even its internal studs, and two layers of plaster held up the entire structure.

His testimony helped prosecutors build their case that Tronnes’ marriage to Shanti Cooper was on the brink of failure in early 2018, and led to Tronnes beating and strangling Cooper so savagely her eye sockets burst.


Tronnes denied involvement in her death, claiming that he found her face down in their bathtub after coming inside from chores. Since the beginning, though, investigators and prosecutors have labeled his story a bad cover-up.

Prosecutors used part of the second day of the trial to introduce much of the mountain of evidence they’ve collected, including pictures, jewelry, a bloody bed frame and videos shot on Tronnes’ phone.

Read: David Tronnes: Trial underway for man accused of strangling wife in Delaney Park home in 2018

They also called upon Cooper’s friends and acquaintances, who spoke of her demanding work life, strict responsiveness to text messages – and said David withheld details of Cooper’s death from them, including the fact that police told him early on Cooper had been murdered.

“[Tronnes] said he came home and he found her, and he couldn’t resuscitate, and he called 911 and there’s nothing they could do,” ex-employee Lori Cutcher testified.

Read: Man accused of strangling his wife in their Delaney Park home found competent to stand trial

The TV producer’s testimony came before lunch. He said Tronnes prized his home but became overwhelmed by the never-ending renovations.

“Basically, the house was a two-story shoe box,” producer Keith Ori said, adding that both Cooper and Tronnes were interested in getting their renovations on TV, but Cooper became more distant as time passed.

Read: Records: Man charged in Delaney Park murder forged documents, attempted to hide wife’s money

After forgoing an opening statement Thursday, defense attorneys became more aggressive as the witnesses moved from crime scene investigators to friends and other contacts. They got Cutcher to call Tronnes “loving” toward his family, an insurance investigator to say Tronnes wasn’t poor and a former medical examiner to point out that the most common type of asphyxiation is self-induced.

However, they’ve yet to punch a sizeable hole through prosecutors’ claims Tronnes’ hysteria following Cooper’s death was an act – or that her death was anything but a murder committed by their client.

Read: Jailhouse informant says man admitted to killing wife in Delaney Park home

The trial will resume Monday at 9:30 a.m. It’s expected to last for most of next week. Whether Tronnes will testify in his own defense isn’t yet known.

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