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Chef who cooked dead wife won't testify in his defense

September 19, 2012 |  1:23 pm

David Viens, the chef who told authorities he accidentally killed his wife and then cooked her body to dispose of it, said Wednesday he will not testify in his defense.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Rand S. Rubin reminded Viens, 49, that it was ultimately his decision -– not his attorney’s -– whether to take the stand.

“I understand that,” Viens said softly, outside the presence of jurors. Viens is accused of murdering his wife, Dawn, who was 39 when she disappeared in October 2009.

After Viens learned in February 2011 that investigators suspected he’d played a role in her disappearance, he leaped off an 80-foot cliff in Rancho Palos Verdes — feet first, arms raised, screaming.

From his hospital bed, Viens spoke twice to sheriff’s investigators. In both interviews, he admitted to accidentally killing his wife.

There is no physical evidence of what happened to Dawn Viens, but her husband said he taped her mouth and bound her hands and feet with duct tape and went to sleep. When he woke up, he said, she was dead.

His daughter testified last week that Viens told her that his wife choked on her own vomit.

In the second interview, Viens described why authorities never found Dawn Viens’ body.

He said he packed it into a large drum of boiling water, held it down with weights and simmered it over four days. Then, he said, he mixed much of what remained with other waste and poured it into the grease pit at his Lomita restaurant, Thyme Contemporary Café.

Viens said he packed other remains into garbage bags and chucked them in a Dumpster and stashed his wife’s skull in his mother’s attic. When authorities searched there, however, they found nothing.


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-- Ashley Powers at L.A. County Superior Court