LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com/AP) — A Lomita chef who told police he cooked his wife’s body for four days in boiling water was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison Friday.
“The crime involved great violence,” Judge Rand Ruben said prior to sentencing 49-year-old David Viens for the death of his wife,” KNX 1070’s Margaret Carrero reported.
Viens, 49, was convicted in Sept. 2012 of second-degree murder in the death of his 39-year-old wife Dawn Viens, in late 2009. Her body has never been found after an exhaustive search.
In a recorded interrogation from a hospital bed presented by prosecutors during the trial, Viens can be heard saying he cooked her body for four days to get rid of evidence.
Authorities said he leapt off an 80-foot cliff after learning he was a suspect in her disappearance.
Prior to his sentencing, Viens spent an hour going over his 122 page motion for a new trial. Veins, who represented himself, made a rambling claim that he was too sedated to remember his confession.
“I love my wife. I didn’t cook my wife,” he said. “Nobody loved Dawn Marie Viens more than me or misses her more than I do. I never meant for what happened to happen.”
As for “cooking” his wife, he now says that never happened. He said he lied to police out of fear.
Viens ran the shuttered Thyme Contemporary Cafe in Lomita prior to his conviction.
Serene Branson, reporting for KCAL9, spoke to the victim’s family. They considered Viens a brother, a best friend.
“I don’t feel any sympathy nor pity nor kindness to him whatsoever,” said Dayna Papin, Dawn Marie’s sister, in court.
“He assured me, promised me, his words were brother ‘I would never hurt her.’ I believed him, too. The guy I knew would never do that,” said Dayna’s brother David by phone.
He says he and the family held a memorial service for Dawn in their home state of Vermont but he’d still like his former brother-in-law to tell them what he did with his sister’s body.
Regarding the sentence, Steve Meister, CBS2/KCAL 9 Legal Expert says, “He’ll serve far more than more than 15 years. The facts are gruesome. Fifteen years is what a defendant hears. But a parole board hears life. It’s somewhere in between.”
Viens said he plans to appeal.
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