Los Angeles News
Lomita chef sentenced to 15 years to life in prison for wife's murder
DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES -- A chef convicted of killing his wife and cooking her remains was sentenced Friday to 15 years to life in state prison for second-degree murder. Unhappy with the outcome, he told the court he didn't get a fair trial and wanted a chance to testify.
"It is ridiculous to think after 17 years, I would harm my wife at all," said David Robert Viens in court.
Yet a jury found that not only did Viens harm his 39-year-old wife Dawn, but that he murdered her. In a bid to halt sentencing, Viens acted as his own attorney, demanding a new trial. He dismissed the D.A.'s grisly allegations that he disposed of his wife, piece by piece, at their Lomita restaurant.
"It was very damaging of them to go ahead and portray that I abused my wife. I love my wife. I didn't cook my wife," Viens said.
But Viens said he did in his own words while in the hospital, recovering from a leap from a cliff when detectives closed in to arrest him.
"I manipulated her so the face was down, and I took 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 for four day," he said in the police interview.
But that was just babble, Viens argued. He had been doped up on painkillers. He claims his wife's 2009 death was an excusable homicide. Viens said he bound her with duct tape, but only to keep her from driving while drunk. He says they often did drugs, and there was domestic violence.
"This is a restraining order that I had to call the police on my wife because she was violent, hitting me, wrecking the house," Viens said. "I never meant for this to happen."
The judge dismissed the motion for a new trial. Viens has already said he plans to appeal.
The victim's sister, Dayna Papin, told the court about the man she had known since she was a teen.
"I love him, very much. He was like a father to me," she said. "But I don't feel any sympathy nor pity nor kindness toward him in any way whatsoever."
Court papers show Viens was previously arrested for the manufacture of hallucinogens and served time for drug dealing.
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