The chef who cooked his wife for four days was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison. The man, David Viens, was found guilty last year of second-degree murder.
Viens admitted to arguing with his wife, Dawn, in 2009. He also admitted to binding her mouth, hands, and feet with duct tape because he didn’t want her driving while drunk.
But he found her dead the next morning. In an attempt to get rid of her body, Viens decided to slow-cook her remains, prosecutors alleged. The Los Angeles chef explained in audio released in court from an interview with deputies:
“I took some, some things like weights that we use and I put them on the top of her body, and I just slowly cooked it and I ended up cooking her for four days.”
Defense attorneys argued during the trial that the chef did not mean to kill his wife. During the sentencing, the victim’s sister, Dayna Papin, urged the court to keep Viens locked up as long as possible. She added, “He’s going to continue to fight for his freedom, which I hope you don’t give to him for a very long time.”
David Viens attended the court proceedings in a wheelchair. He attempted to take his life on February 23, 2011 after a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy attempted to stop his vehicle. He jumped down an 80-foot cliff and likely survived partially because his girlfriend grabbed his clothes in an attempt to stop him from going over.
During the sentencing, David Viens spoke for 45 minutes, saying the story he told police about cooking Dawn Viens’ body was a lie. He added that he was simply disoriented at the time after surgery. Dawn Viens was reported missing in October 2009, three weeks after she was last seen at the Viens’ restaurant in Lomita, called the Thyme Contemporary Cafe. Her body was never recovered.
It is not yet clear where the chef who cooked his wife will serve his time in prison.