(NEW YORK) — A Los Angeles chef on trial for the murder of his wife told investigators that he disposed of her body by boiling it for four days then trashed the remains with other waste in a grease pit in his restaurant.
David Viens, 49, was a chef at the Thyme Contemporary Café in Lomita, Calif., when on Oct. 18, 2009 he came home and argued with his 39-year-old wife, Dawn Viens. At one point he duct-taped her mouth and bound her hands and feet before falling asleep and finding her corpse the next morning, he told investigators according to The Los Angeles Times.
“I woke up. I panicked,” Viens said. “She was hard.”
On Tuesday a jury in L.A. heard that Viens told investigators that in a panic he stuffed his wife’s body face-down into a 55-gallon drum of boiling water and proceeded to cook it for four days. He said that he used weights to submerge Dawn’s 105-pound body in the boiling water.
“I just slowly cooked it and I ended up cooking her for four days,” he told investigators.
Viens then took some of his wife’s body’s remains, mixed it with other waste from the restaurant and poured it into the grease pit at the Thyme Contemporary Café. Other remains were placed in the dumpster in garbage bags.
He told police that he kept the skull, which was “the only thing I didn’t want to get rid of in case I wanted to leave it somewhere,” and said that he left it “my mother’s attic.”
It wasn’t until 2011 that Viens learned that police investigating Dawn’s disappearance began to suspect him. At that point he leapt feet-first from an 80-foot cliff in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. He survived the fall and is now in a wheelchair.
Viens sat in the courtroom staring ahead and scribbling notes as a stunned-looking jury listened to the 2011 taped hospital bed confession to police. What Viens says in the taped interviews closely matches what he told his daughter and a former girlfriend, both of whom have testified for the prosecution.
Details of exactly what occurred between David and Dawn Viens that night in October 2009 remain unclear. Viens told police that he and his wife had eaten at a California Pizza Kitchen before he did some work at the restaurant and then went out with friends. When he arrived back home, he said, the couple began to fight.
In one interview Viens said that he and his wife had argued after he accused her of stealing money from their restaurant. In a later interview, he said that the couple had taken cocaine, and in yet another interview he said she was bothering him while he was trying to sleep.
Viens told police that he had previously taped her up to prevent her from “driving around wasted, whacked out on coke and drinking.”
“For some reason I just got violent,” Veins said.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Nate Eaton, EastIdahoNews.com
Lisa Respers France, CNN
Hope King, CNN
Deirdre Walsh and Eugene Scott, CNN