Shanti Cooper-Tronnes and David Tronnes had only been married a year when she was killed in Florida — allegedly by her husband, though he maintains she fell in the bathroom.
Newly released police interviews of the couple’s friends and family indicate that investigators may be narrowing in on a potential motive in the April 24 slaying.
These accounts, provided by the state attorney’s office in Orange County, underline the persistent role that finances played in the relationship.
Tronnes, who is still in custody, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in his wife’s death. His attorney could not be reached for comment.
“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.
The police interviews suggest Cooper-Tronnes, 39, was initially attracted to Tronnes, 50, because he was wealthy — though she may have learned otherwise.
“Dave was doing things that was [ticking] her off as it pertains to money,” Burzinski said.
She told police that, according to Cooper-Tronnes, Tronnes only wanted to pay one-third of the couple’s rent on their previous home. He said that he was one of three people in the house, along with her and her young son, Burzinski recalled.
Tronnes also complained about having to pay for groceries, Burzinski said.
Cooper-Tronnes’ father, Kishian Matani, told police that he thought his son-in-law had inherited between $4 million and $6 million from his father.
“Shanti told me that he [Tronnes] inherited quite a bit,” Matani said.
However, relative Norman Daugh said it seemed that Cooper-Tronnes was always paying for things such as TVs and moving vans.
When Cooper-Tronnes’ mother was near death in December 2016, she asked about her mother’s life insurance policy. Daugh told police he thought that it was Tronnes who was more interested in the money.
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“It just was my gut feeling,” Daugh said. “He always claimed he had millions, but Shanti bought everything.”
Tronnes initially told police Cooper-Tronnes died after she slipped and fell while stepping into a bathtub in their Delaney Park home.
But authorities said an autopsy revealed that blunt force trauma to the head and strangulation led to her death.
In interrogation footage released late last month, investigators called Tronnes’ account of the night his wife died into question. They dismissed his tears as fake and directly challenged him about the lack of water on Cooper-Tronnes’ body or in the bathroom where he said he found her dead.
“Your story is B.S.,” a detective told him. “So you’d better figure it out before it goes too far, because I’m telling you right now — nobody is going to believe that. Nobody.”