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Lomita chef murder trial: Closing arguments begin

September 24, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Closing arguments began Monday in a gripping murder case of a former Lomita chef accused of killing his wife and cooking her remains.

David Viens has pleaded not guilty to killing his 39-year-old wife, Dawn, who disappeared in October 2009. Her body has never been found.

In March 2011, Viens told sheriff's detectives that he spent four days cooking his wife. Viens also told deputies that he initially put his wife's body in a closet before coming up with the idea to cook her.

On Monday, the prosecution pointed what jurors just heard in a recorded confession, that Viens taped the mouth of his wife, woke up to find her dead, then boiled the remains in a 55 gallon vat.

The defense argued there was no evidence of a vat and that Viens made the remarks about cooking his wife's body while he was in the hospital groggy and confused.

In a case where there is scant physical evidence, the prosecutor pointed out statements from witnesses who had seen Dawn Viens before she disappeared. They said she had red marks around her neck from an alleged incident of domestic abuse and a threat from Viens that he was going to kill her.

His daughter has also testified that Viens told her he bounded her step mother with duct tape because he was trying to sleep and she wouldn't leave him alone. When he woke up four hours later, she was dead.

In an attempt to question if Viens' memory was affected, the defense last week questioned a doctor about Viens' medical records and about any medications Viens may have been taking the day he told deputies what happened.

Viens also made a last-minute request to the judge last week to act as his own defense attorney. But that request was denied because the judge felt it was too late in the proceedings.

Viens has been in a wheelchair during the proceedings because in February 2011 he jumped off of Inspiration Point in Rancho Palos Verdes, falling 80 feet down after a sheriff's deputy tried to stop his vehicle.


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