David Tronnes has been arrested and charged with murder in the 2018 death of his wife, Shanti

By Steve Helling
March 26, 2020 10:00 AM

Shanti Cooper-Tronnes and David Tronnes had been married for just a year when she was found dead in her upscale Florida home in April 2018. Police soon focused on Tronnes, 52, who initially told police that Cooper-Tronnes slipped and fell while in the a bathtub.

But an autopsy revealed Cooper-Tronnes died from blunt force trauma to the head and strangulation. Moreover, crime scene investigators noted that the woman’s body was completely dry, which contradicted her husband’s claim that she had been in the partially-filled tub.

Four months after the body was discovered, Tronnes was arrested and charged with first-degree murder. He pleaded not guilty and was ordered to be held without bond.

So why would a man kill his new wife after just one year of marriage?

Authorities allege Tronnes had predicated the entire relationship on a lie. After the couple met on Match.com, he allegedly told her that he had inherited between $4 million and $6 million from his father — a claim that turned out to be untrue.

Orlando Police

RELATED: Husband Suspected in Wife’s Murder Claimed to Be a Millionaire, Police Say — but Was It All a Lie?

Friends started noticing that Tronnes paid for very little of the couple’s bills — and that he expected Cooper-Tronnes to keep them afloat financially. “He always talked about how he had a ton of money, but she couldn’t figure out why he was such a miser,” Cooper-Tronnes’ friend Melissa Burzinski told police after her death.

David Tronnes, Shanti Cooper-Tronnes
Orlando Police

For more on David Tronnes’ alleged web of lies, subscribe now to PEOPLE or pick up this week’s issue, on newsstands Friday. 

Authorities allege Tronnes killed his wife after she learned the truth about his finances — and also about the fact that he was going to bathhouses for anonymous sex with men.

“We all thought we knew David Tronnes,” Shanti’s friend tells PEOPLE in its latest issue. “Come to find out, what we knew was a facade. He was living a total lie.”

RELATED: After Allegedly Murdering His Wife, Fla. Man ‘Fake Cried’ for Hours During Interrogation: Police

Interrogation footage released last year show Orlando Police detectives were unconvinced by his story — and accused him of faking weeping.

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“You’ve fake cried for about seven or eight hours today,” Detective Teresa Sprague told David Tronnes after his interview. “Not one tear came out of your eyes — not one. You have fake cried over this woman’s death since we made contact with you. There is not a lick of remorse for what you did to this woman.”

Tronnes has claimed that he is indigent, and will now be represented by a public defender. His trial is scheduled to begin later this year.

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