Los Angeles County prosecutors have asked a judge to sentence David Viens, the chef who told authorities that he accidentally killed his wife and cooked her body to dispose of it, to 15 years to life in prison.
Viens, who is scheduled to be sentenced Friday, was convicted last year of second-degree murder in the death of his wife, Dawn. He has since fired his attorney and filed a motion for a new trial, which Superior Court Judge Rand S. Rubin is also scheduled to hear Friday.
In a sentencing memo, prosecutors called Viens "a liar and a manipulator" and said he had a history of narcotics-related crimes before the 2009 slaying.
While living in Vermont, prosecutors said in court papers, Viens was convicted in 2003 of a federal drug-related charge. Instead of reporting to serve a four-month sentence, he fled to Mexico, prosecutors said. He eventually surrendered. In 2005, he was convicted in Florida on a federal marijuana charge, according to court papers.
In October 2009, Viens' 39-year-old wife vanished. Her body has never been found, and Deputy Dist. Atty. Deborah Brazil suggested that was because Viens wanted to conceal how she was killed. Testimony painted their marriage as disintegrating, with Dawn Viens telling one friend her husband had choked her and David Viens telling another friend he wanted to "kill that bitch."
Shortly after his wife disappeared, David Viens started dating a 23-year-old waitress who worked at his Lomita restaurant, Thyme Contemporary Café. He told friends and police that his wife had run off. He also sent fake text messages from his wife's phone to her friends, prosecutors said, one of which said she was in Florida.
But Dawn Viens' sister, Dayna Papin, suspected that something was awry. She filed a missing-person report.
In February 2011, when David Viens learned that investigators suspected he'd played a role in his wife's disappearance, he leaped off an 80-foot cliff in Rancho Palos Verdes. From his hospital bed, Viens gave a dramatic recorded confession to investigators.