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Did an out-of-control Orlando home renovation lead to murder? »

A profitable businesswoman is discovered useless within the bathtub. Her home had been below building for years. Did the renovation lead to her loss of life? Correspondent Erin Moriarty reviews in “Home Renovation Homicide,” an all-new “48 Hours” airing Saturday, September 12 at 10/9c on CBS.

“This house became more than just a project to David Tronnes. It was his life,” says Ryan Vescio, a former prosecutor with the Orlando State Attorney’s Office. Vescio led the investigation into the loss of life of Shanti Cooper. “He obsessed on it … this house is the center point to the story.”

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Shanti Cooper and Dave Tronnes  met on Match.com in March 2013.

Shanti Cooper

Dave Tronnes was dwelling in Minnesota in 2013 when he met Shanti Cooper on Match.com. Both have been going via a divorce, and Shanti had a younger son. After a whirlwind on-line courtship, Dave moved to be part of Shanti in Orlando and acquired the home on East Copeland Drive in April 2015. Three years later, Shanti was discovered useless there.

The home was 4,000 sq. ft, and got here with a pool, storage house and even just a few gargoyles. But it was an older-style Victorian home, and Dave stated Shanti needed a extra trendy open idea. So, they started to renovate virtually instantly, and by no means stopped. When the primary home grew to become unlivable, they moved into the storage house. Shanti ran a profitable monetary software program enterprise out of her home workplace upstairs, whereas Dave oversaw the renovation.

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In April 2015, Dave Tronnes purchased a home within the Delaney Park neighborhood. 

Tara Stevens

Dave had paid a little bit greater than $600,000 money for the home, however had put it in belief along with his mom. Dave married Shanti in 2017, however did not add her to the deed. Still, she funded the renovation, which had spiraled to practically 1 / 4 of one million {dollars}. 

Dave reached out to Keith Ori, a home renovator who lives within the neighborhood. Ori additionally seems on the truth TV present “Zombie House Flipping.” He and his co-stars take homes which might be the worst of the worst and produce them again to life.

Ori says he wasn’t in any respect ready for what he noticed. “When I got there … they had fully disassembled this house to a degree that I’d never seen before. It was rather astonishing.” Ori says sometimes, once you discuss disassembling a home, you say that it was taken down to the studs. “They took away the studs.”

Ori’s engineer found the one factor holding up the home was two inches of stucco. “They took away all the interior dividing walls and basically what was left was a two-story shell,” he says. But Ori was up for the problem and received the go-ahead to use the home within the subsequent season of “Zombie House Flipping.” It was mid-April 2018, and filming was set to start in early May.

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The couple started renovating the home, with Shanti Cooper footing the invoice and Dave overseeing the development.  The renovation dragged on as prices spiraled to practically 1 / 4 of one million {dollars}.

Shanti Cooper

Ori went to the home to meet with the couple one final time to make sure that they have been on board. “They both agreed, and said, ‘Yes, we understand.’ And then she took off immediately,” Ori remembers. “I got a sense that she was pissed off at him.” By this level, Dave was sleeping downstairs within the storage on the sofa, subsequent to the canines.

A couple of days after the assembly with Ori, Dave Tronnes referred to as 911. He was hysterical as he informed the operator “My wife. I found my wife, she’s not breathing. I tried to do CPR, I can’t get her to breathe.”

First responders arrived and pronounced Shanti Cooper useless. She was 39. Dave willingly went to the Orlando Police Department headquarters with out an lawyer, the place he remained for 14 hours.

He informed detectives Teresa Sprague and Barb Sharp that he’d gone out to stroll the canines within the afternoon and after he got here home he went upstairs to test on Shanti. He heard the water operating within the lavatory and located her in her pajamas, floating within the bathtub.

He described the scene as “extremely awful” and unnatural trying and supplied a suggestion on how she wound up within the bathtub. “I think something went wrong. Either she slipped and she fell or blacked out or something caused her to collapse.”

But the bathtub was dry and there was no water on the ground when police arrived. And when the veteran detectives questioned how Shanti’s extreme accidents to her cheek and eye may have come from a slip within the tub, Dave had no rationalization. Detectives additionally suspected, and Shanti’s post-mortem later confirmed, that she was strangled as well as to struggling blunt power trauma to the pinnacle.

Given the sorry state of the home, the detectives started to surprise if it had one thing to do with Shanti’s loss of life. She desperately needed stability in her life however was dwelling in a home that was something however. Her title was not on the deed and now Dave was asking her to spend much more cash on a renovation that was anticipated to value lots of of hundreds extra.

“I can’t imagine how stressful it must have been. You know, not living in the home you want to live in. And it’s taking two-plus years, three years,” Sprague stated to Dave through the interrogation. 

“And I’m sick to death about what happened but nothing happened today because there was no animosity between us whatsoever,” he replied.

Murder suspect nods off during interview with…

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Did Shanti lastly inform Dave “no more”? And did that spark an argument that value Shanti her life? Could she actually be killed over a home? Vescio questions, “What would somebody do when they were about to lose the most important thing in their life? Because in April of 2018, the most important thing in Dave’s life was that house.”

Sprague and Sharp spent hours attempting to get Dave to confess, however he insisted he hadn’t harmed his spouse. He even agreed to take a polygraph, however by that time it was the midnight and investigators could not discover anybody to administer it. The subsequent morning, Dave returned to his home on Copeland Drive.

His present protection lawyer, Richard Zaleski, says the detectives “went into this room, decided that David Tronnes was a murderer, and then went the extra mile to try to put a file together to prove such.”

They investigated a variety of leads over the subsequent few months earlier than Dave was arrested in August 2018. He was charged with first-degree homicide and held with out bail.

“48 Hours” correspondent Erin Moriarty requested Ryan Vescio, “Is it possible that without this house, Shanti might still be alive?” “I think that’s completely true,” he responded.

Dave Tronnes stays on the Orange County Jail in Orlando awaiting a trial that has been delayed a number of occasions. He maintains his innocence. 


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