LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A judge warned a former Lomita restaurant owner convicted of second-degree murder involving the October 2009 disappearance of his wife against representing himself in court on Tuesday.
Superior Court Judge Rand S. Rubin postponed sentencing for David Viens, who was severely injured in February 2011 when he jumped off an oceanfront cliff in Rancho Palos Verdes.
Viens later told sheriff’s investigators that he had cooked his wife’s remains in an effort to get rid of them.
He told Rubin in court that he wanted to act as his own attorney – a request the judge strongly urged him to reconsider.
“You cannot raise as an issue on appeal ineffective or incompetence of counsel for the post-trial portion of these proceedings, you waive and give up that right,” Rubin told Viens. “Do you understand that?”
“I do, your honor,” Viens replied.
During the trial, Deputy District Attorney Deborah Brazil told jurors that Dawn Viens, who disappeared in October 2009, likely died more violently than her husband described in interviews with sheriff’s investigators.
“And that is why the defendant needed the four days to completely destroy and dispose of Dawn Viens’ body,” Brazil said.
The sentencing has been rescheduled for Feb. 1.