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Lomita chef murder trial: Jury begins deliberating

September 25, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
The gruesome murder case of a former chef accused of killing his wife, then cooking the body has gone to the jury.

During the second day of closing arguments Tuesday, the prosecution said David Viens confessed once to his daughter and twice to detectives that he bound his wife, Dawn, with tape, later found her dead, then disposed of her 105-pound body so that not a trace of her could be found.

"It is the defendant who described for Sgt. Garcia how he cooked Dawn Viens for four days and placed portions into various bags and mixed them with other debris and then placed them in the dumpster," said Deputy District Attorney Deborah Brazil.

What the jury must decide is whether Viens' statements were truthful or if medication clouded his thinking.

The defense called it an accidental death, claiming the evidence does not support murder.

"The weight of a 105-pound woman and a 55-gallon vat of water, where are you going to even take something that big and put it on a stove in that restaurant? How are you going to be able to do that?" defense attorney Fred McCurry told the jury.

Viens had first claimed his wife of 17 years needed time away and took off in October 2009. More than a year later investigators got a tip and were closing in on him. Viens jumped off an 80-foot cliff after he heard the arrest was coming.

Viens claims no one would believe the real story. He said his wife's death was an accident, an excusable homicide. He said binding her in tape was something he had done before in order to prevent her from driving in a reckless state.

"This is how he had done it before on two prior occasions in order to constrain her when she had been out of control," McCurry said.

To the prosecution said that's evidence of a pattern of domestic violence.

Deliberations are set to resume Wednesday at 1:30 p.m.


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