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Colorado man sentenced to life in prison after jury returns guilty verdict for killing estranged wife

David Lechner guilty of murdering his estranged wife
David Lechner guilty of murdering his estranged wife 00:20

After a jury returned a guilty verdict last week, David Lechner was sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole for last year's murder of his estranged wife Tracy. Lechner, 46, was sentenced on Monday for murdering Tracy one day before the couple's divorce was set to be finalized. 

It was just after 8 a.m. on March 30, 2023 when Arapahoe County Sheriff's deputies were called to a shooting at a home in the 5200 block of S. Geneva Way in Centennial. When they arrived, they found a woman, later identified as Tracy Lechner, deceased on the garage floor next to her SUV with several gunshot wounds. 

David Lechner Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office

One witness told police that he saw Lechner standing over his wife, pulling the trigger at point-blank range and then running to his vehicle. The witness said he tried to stop Lechner from getting away by ramming his rental truck into the side of Lechner's vehicle. Deputies arrested Lechner just down the street. 

Lechner's attorneys argued the shooting was in self defense and claimed he only wanted to confront Tracy to convince her not to go forward with the divorce. Investigators said in the days leading up to the murder, Lechner bought a getaway car under a false name, purchased a GPS tracking unit and bought gloves, duct tape, zip ties and a tarp. He also had a taser and a gun on the day he confronted Tracy. 

"This was not a case of self-defense," Deputy DA Tory Reavis said in a statement. "This was a calculated murder plot to avoid a divorce and have sole custody of his children. The evidence shows he incapacitated Tracy with a stun gun and then shot her three times, including once in the head." 

After four hours of deliberation, a jury found Lechner guilty of first-degree murder, attempted kidnapping and illegal use of a stun gun. 

"This heinous murder shocked the community and Mr. Lechner deserves to spend every last minute of his life behind bars," District Attorney John Kellner said in a statement. 

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