David Viens, L.A. County Chef, Admits to Slow-Cooking Wife's Corpse

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Tue, Sep 18, 2012 at 6:00 PM
click to enlarge The chef with his former wife, whom he now admits to slow-cooking for days.
  • The chef with his former wife, whom he now admits to slow-cooking for days.

David Viens -- the infamous 49-year-old Lomita chef currently on trial for killing his wife, 39-year-old Dawn Viens, in 2009 -- may have done so in an unexpected fit of violence, as he told L.A. County Sheriff's investigators in his March 2011 confession.

But what he did with Dawn's body once she was dead earns him a top spot in the psycho-killer loony bin:

"I just slowly cooked it and I ended up cooking her for four days," he told detectives in another interview played for jurors today, reports the Los Angeles Times. The gruesome details:

In the second of two interviews Viens gave to investigators in March 2011, he said he stuffed his wife's lifeless body into a 55-gallon drum of boiling water and kept it submerged with weights. After four days, he mixed much of what remained with other waste and then disposed of it.

The only thing left, Viens said in the interview, was his wife's skull. He said he stashed it at his mother's house. Authorities scoured his mother's attic but found nothing.

click to enlarge Viens ran the Thyme Contemporary Cafe with the help of his late wife.
  • Viens ran the Thyme Contemporary Cafe with the help of his late wife.

The suspect reportedly is attending his trial in a wheelchair, seeing as he tried to commit suicide off an 80-foot cliff near the Point Vincente Light House back when L.A. County Sheriff's detectives found microscopic blood stains on his walls.

But the South Bay chef survived the fall, and -- all bandaged up with no place to hide -- was arrested for and interrogated about his wife's murder.

The Daily Breeze, which has run multiple huge exclusives on the missing person-turned-homicide case, runs a recap today of Viens' first interview:

In the confession, Viens, speaking softly and obviously recovering from his injuries, said Dawn Viens wanted cocaine that day, and the experience of "doing coke together" wasn't enjoyable.

"For some reason, I just got violent," Viens said. "Seemed like it had to deal with her stealing money."

In previous testimony during the trial, a witness said Viens accused his wife, who worked at their restaurant, of stealing money from him.

"So you found her with money and you snapped," sheriff's Sgt. Richard Garcia asked Viens.


Asked what he did to her, Viens responded: "Duct tape."

"Across her mouth?" Garcia asked, hospital noises and beeping machines in the background.

"What about the rest of her? Did you duct tape her, her body, her legs, her arms, or anything? ... Did you duct tape her feet and hands?"

"Yes I did," Viens responded. "And I fell asleep."

Together, the Viens ran the Thyme Contemporary Cafe in suburban Lomita. On the now-closed restaurant's Urban Spoon profile, one reviewer writes, "Chef David's preparation is nothing short of spectacular." Another describes him as very personable, taking the time to "come by my table and ask me how everything was."

But the most chilling review appears to be written by Dawn herself, just 10 days before she was murdered: "HI, I'm Dawn. My husband /chef is David. We are a work in progress, only open for 16 days. I know we are not yet perfect, but we work 14 hours a day to become so!"

In the first confession tape, Viens says he drove his wife's corpse, in a garbage bag, to work and threw it in the Dumpster.

That must have been when sheriff's investigators showed up to the former Thyme site in March of last year and tore up the place in search of Dawn's remains. But those efforts were fruitless -- apparently because David had boiled her down to no more than a skull.

His actions in the days and months that followed her disappearance were similarly sick and void of conscience. Viens kept living at the home on Oak Avenue where he allegedly murdered her with his new girlfriend, Kathy Galvan, and never so much as reported his wife missing.

The kicker: Viens' daughter Jacqueline testified in court last week that her father once made a joke about using his skills as a chef to get rid of a dead body. You know, by cooking it.

Looks like he wasn't joking after all.

[@simone_electra / swilson@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]

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