ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. — To applause in the courtroom, an Arapahoe County judge set a $100 million cash-only bond for a man charged with shooting and killing a mother outside a home in March.
David Samuel Lechner was taken into custody on March 30 in Arapahoe County after he allegedly shot and killed his soon-to-be ex-wife outside a home along the 5200 block of S. Geneva Way — southwest of Cherry Creek Reservoir in the Hills West at Cherry Creek neighborhood — and then tried to flee from the scene in a car. A witness purposefully crashed into the suspect's vehicle to keep him at the scene, according to an arrest affidavit.
Tracy Lee Lechner, 42, was identified as the victim. She died at the scene.
The two were going through a divorce and had two young children.
Affidavit: Witness tried to stop suspect from fleeing after fatal CO shooting
During the bond hearing Thursday morning, Judge Theresa Slade said Lechner has a history of failing to follow court orders. She said she had received the many domestic relations court documents that were filed, calling them "pretty significant." The allegations in the case indicate he is likely to intimidate and harass witnesses and victims, the judge said, adding that court orders have not prevented that.
Meghan Gallo, senior deputy district attorney at the 18th Judicial District Attorney's Office, asked Judge Slade to allow for four members of Tracy Lechner's family to speak, which the judge agreed to.
However, before they were allowed to speak, the defense attorney for Lechner argued against a high bond, saying $100 million was "basically unattainable" and unconstitutional. They cited a recent Colorado Supreme Court ruling in State vs. Smith, which states that the denial of bail for capital offenses is no longer allowed. The defense requested a $100,000 cash surety bond.
The defense also explained that they didn't believe Lechner would flee and said he is willing to surrender his passport and wear a GPS device.
At this point in the hearing, the victim's family was allowed to speak.
Tracy Lechner's brother, Benjamin Bloch, said his sister had been living in a rental property due to a flood in her home and David Lechner wasn't supposed to know where she lived due to a custody ruling. He said the suspect has "extreme narcissism," has a family with access to a private plane so he could possibly flee, and has disobeyed court orders before. He added that David Lechner only wanted to see his son — not his daughter. He claimed he had not only abused his wife, but also the two children.
Bloch explained he was worried about the safety of his parents and other family members who spoke up after Tracy Lechner's death. He asked for bond to be set at $10 billion.
Tracy Lechner's mother, Natalie Bloch, said she was horrified to plead against "this animal's bail" and didn't want to live in fear leading up to his trial. He made their lives a living hell when he separated from her daughter, she said. And then he executed her one day before the divorce was set to be finalized, she said.
She also asked for a $10 billion bond.
Tracy Lechner's father Cliff Bloch also spoke during the hearing. The father stressed that the defendant defied a no-contact court order before describing how he allegedly tasered Tracy Lechner to immobilize her before shooting her in broad daylight in front of several witnesses.
"No doubt he will be found guilty," he said.
The family stressed times David Lechner had allegedly lied to a family court judge, avoided paying childcare despite having access to "substantial funds," and had written several of their addresses down on paper found in his car, Cliff Bloch said.
Judge Slade then set a $100 million cash-only bond. Tracy Lechner's loved ones clapped after the decision.
During her funeral service in April, Cliff Bloch remembered his daughter as a loving and dedicated mother who would care for her children throughout the day and work all night running her law practice to support them. She touched many lives, volunteering, making meals for her sick friends, giving to charity and serving as a role model to her children, he said. Natalie Bloch said her daughter was so proud of her children and everything they did. But she was living "the horror" of an abused woman, though she bravely fought the court system to protect her kids, all while working, she said. She wanted to change the court system for herself and other victims of domestic violence.
Donations for the family of Tracy Lechner can be made here.
David Lechner has a preliminary hearing scheduled for July 17. As of 2:40 p.m. Thursday, he had not bonded out.