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David Lechner verdict: Man convicted of killing 'supermom' sentenced to life in prison

The Colorado man convicted on Thursday of murdering his soon-to-be ex-wife outside her Denver-area home was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole on Monday morning.
Woman killed outside home in domestic violence-related shooting near Cherry Creek State Park
Posted at 11:35 AM, Apr 22, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-22 20:22:10-04

ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. — The Colorado man convicted on Thursday of murdering his soon-to-be ex-wife outside her Denver-area home was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole on Monday morning.

On March 30, 2023, David Samuel Lechner, who was 45 years old at the time, was arrested after he shot and killed Tracy Lee Lechner, 42, that morning outside her home, which was along the 5200 block of S. Geneva Way, southwest of Cherry Creek Reservoir in the Hills West at Cherry Creek neighborhood. David Lechner then tried to flee from the scene in a car. Tracy Lechner died at the scene. Their divorce was going to be finalized the following day.

A judge set a $100 million bond in June 2023 and David Lechner pleaded not guilty in December 2023.

Opening statements in his trial began on April 15 and after a few days of witness testimony, both sides rested and closing arguments started Thursday just before 11 a.m. Prosecutors argued that David Lechner purchased materials — including a tarp, duct tape and zip ties — before the shooting and went to Tracy Lechner's home that morning with a firearm and bullets. They said he had planned to kill her and she fought back. The prosecution stressed that his "end game" was her death. The defense argued that David Lechner acted in self-defense and had not planned to kill Tracy Lechner when he went to her home that day. They added that witnesses did not see how their argument — which ended in the open garage — began.

Deliberations officially began at 12:15 p.m. Thursday and the jury reached a unanimous verdict at 4:15 p.m., the judge said. The jury found him guilty on three of the counts: first-degree murder after deliberation, attempted second-degree murder and prohibited use of a stun gun. He was found not guilty of menacing, the fourth charge against him. The menacing charge did not involve Tracy Lechner.

Woman killed outside home in domestic violence-related shooting near Cherry Creek State Park


Jury finds David Lechner guilty of murdering soon-to-be ex-wife in March 2023

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At the sentencing hearing on Monday morning, multiple members of Tracy Lechner's family spoke about how she was a "supermom" to her two children, who were 9 and 7 years old at the time of the murder, but also about their immense hatred for David Lechner.

The victim impact statements began with family reading the letters written by the children.

“I hate you. This is what you took from me," her son wrote. "I hope you die soon and have fun rotting in hell."

"You brutally murdered a kind, sweet loving person," the daughter wrote. "My mother did not deserve this. I have never associated myself with you.”

She wrote that he had abused them, hit them and screamed at them, but her mother worked hard to make sure every part of life was fun despite his actions.

She ended her letter in the same way as her brother: "I hope you have fun rotting in hell."

Tracy Lechner's father, Dr. Clifford Bloch, called the defendant a "cruel, narcissistic, violent beast," and said he was sorry the court had to share the same space as the "vile loser." He explained that David Lechner had a long history of abusive behavior toward Tracy Lechner, and as the final divorce hearing neared, he knew he was also about to lose custody of the children, who called him "the monster." They will have their last names changed to “rid themselves of this monster’s name," Clifford Bloch said. She protected them the best she could despite having a "deadbeat, abusive, loser of a husband," he said.

Despite the children's immense pain, they are "wonderful, loving, kind and talented" kids and were raised by a "supermom," Clifford Bloch said. While his daughter had a very successful career, she was most proud of being a mother, and she loved taking them exploring outdoors and helping them with schoolwork. While her responsibilities as a mother and volunteerism took up most of her days, she worked through the night to support the family.

Clifford Bloch is now raising the children along with his wife, Natalie Bloch.

He also pointed out that not a single member of the defendant's family showed up to the trial. Meanwhile, Tracy Lechner's family attended each court hearing and day of the trial.

“We will prevail and hold our heads aloft and remain a family while he rots in prison," Clifford Bloch said.

His wife, Natalie Bloch, described her as kind to everybody she met. She would cook meals for sick friends and hand out packages to people experiencing homelessness. She wanted to change the system for women who were being abused and couldn't afford legal help, and often offered free legal advice to people in need.

"He left a crater in all our hearts, including Tracy’s friends," Natalie Bloch said. "And we pray we never have to deal with him again… He’s a poor excuse for a human being… In the kids' words, ‘May he rot in hell.’”

Tracy Lechner's brother, Benjamin Bloch, told the court that April 22 should be remembered as a holiday — the day the defendant was locked away.

He accused David Lechner of abusing his sister and her kids, adding that he has no place here and hoping he sits alongside Hitler, Stalin and the devil.

"He should remember this: His life can’t be compared to Tracy... His legacy is erased," he said.

David Lechner verdict: Man convicted of killing 'supermom' sentenced to life in prison

The fond memories of his sister prevail — she took him treat-or-treating and snowboarding, and her "big sister mentality" shifted when she had kids to "supermom." All the while, she created an incredible community of friends, volunteered often and worked as a law professor.

“I know she will be looking down, guiding, protecting and providing endless inspiration," he said.

Benjamin Bloch's wife, Rachel Bloch, said she will make sure to go to the children's weddings, take them to concerts and treat them at the mall — everything that a prisoner never gets to do. As Tracy Lechner's sister-in-law, she said it would take four of her to replace what Tracy Lechner accomplished.

She recalled the terror of not knowing if David Lechner would get out of jail, and if he would come for her family next. She also reminded the courtroom that while the verdict was being read on Thursday, the baby heard crying in the hall was her son, and that she could run to comfort him afterward — something that Tracy Lechner can never do now.

"Those sweet babies — he never deserved them," she said.

After these statements, the prosecutor in this case said the courtroom had heard stories of how Tracy Lechner was an incredible mother, daughter, sister and professional. He stressed that the divorce could have been a bad memory for a few years and then life could have moved forward, but David Lechner completely changed that.

"I can scarcely think of a penalty more appropriate than life in prison without possibility of parole," he said.

The defense asked the judge for count two and three — the attempted second-degree kidnapping and use of a stun gun charges — to run concurrently to count one, which was the first-degree murder charge.

Minutes before the sentencing, Judge Jacob Edson acknowledged that the court can never understand the true pain that Tracy Lechner's family had suffered from. From everything he had heard in court, she was a wonderful person, daughter, mother and attorney, he said.

"Juggling all of those is difficult but she seemed to have the ability to do that," he said.

Over the trial days, the court found evidence that David Lechner took extensive efforts to plan the crime, by purchasing items in a disguise, monitoring the area around Tracy Lechner's home, and preparing and arming himself to commit the crimes that he ultimately carried out, Judge Edson said.

He then sentenced the defendant to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the murder charge. He also sentenced him to three years in prison with two years of mandatory parole for the attempted kidnapping and stun gun charges, both of which will run concurrent to the murder charge.

Lastly, the judge found that David Lechner is responsible for restitution, and he gave the prosecution 45 days to submit a formal request for that.

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