Defense claims Orlando man accused of killing wife in 2018 not competent to stand trial

David Tronnes incompetent due to ‘ongoing manifestations of the diagnosis of Schizophrenia,’ doctor says

David Tronnes and Shanti Cooper-Tronnes

ORLANDO, Fla. – Lawyers for a man accused of killing his wife in their Delaney Park home in 2018 now claim he is not competent to stand trial.

David Tronnes has been locked up since August 2018 when he was arrested more than four months after his wife, Shanti Cooper-Tronnes, was found dead inside a home on East Copeland Drive on April 24.

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His lawyers have filed paperwork Monday stating that a doctor has found that he is not competent to assist in his own defense at trial due to a diagnosis of Schizophrenia.

According to the court documents, Dr, Jeffrey Danziger met with Tronnes on Sept. 16 and determined that the accused killer is incompetent due to “ongoing manifestations of the diagnosis of Schizophrenia.”

The documents do not detail those “manifestations” but do say that Tronnes “meets the criteria for involuntary placement” in a mental health facility under the Baker Act.

The documents call for Tronnes to undergo a competency hearing, where a judge will make a final determination as to whether he is competent to stand trial. It is not clear yet when that competency hearing would be or if one will be granted in the first place.

Investigators believe Tronnes beat and strangled his wife. Tronnes called 911 and told 911 operators he found his wife in the shower. He later told detectives he found his wife lying face down in the tub. He told detectives he believed she slipped and fell while in the shower.

“Shanti did not fall and get those injuries,” Detective Teresa Sprague said about a month after Tronnes’s arrest. “It’s pretty evident to me that Shanti’s been murdered.”

Detectives grew even more skeptical after Tronnes admitted his wife had a $250,000 life insurance policy and he is the beneficiary.

Tronnes faces a first-degree murder charge. His case is set to have a status hearing on Nov. 8.

About the Author:

Thomas Mates is a digital storyteller for News 6 and He also produces the podcast Florida Foodie. Thomas is originally from Northeastern Pennsylvania and worked in Portland, Oregon before moving to Central Florida in August 2018. He graduated from Temple University with a degree in Journalism in 2010.