Lawyer For Cafe Owner Who Allegedly Killed and Cooked His Wife Argues It Wasn't Murder
Jurors heard closing arguments today in the case against David Viens, a South Bay restaurateur accused of killing his wife Dawn.
Viens, who unsuccessfully bid at the last minute to represent himself, did not take the stand in his own defense. However, his attorney focused on labeling Dawn's death as "accidental," and asked the juror to essentially ignore Viens' confession that he cooked the corpse for four days before disposing of the remains, according to City News Service.
Defense attorney Fred McCurry said the evidence in the case "does not support murder," and asked for an acquittal.
Crime reporter Larry Altman has been covering the trial for the Daily Breeze, and he live-tweeted from the courtroom today.
Defense: "Just because there was a death does not mean there was a murder."— Larry Altman (@LarryAltman) September 25, 2012
Prosecutors rebutted that Dawn Viens' death was likely quite violent.
David Viens admits he took Dawn's life. He claims he killed her after an argument, when he bound her hands, feet, and mouth with duct tape, took a sleeping pill, and left her in the living room. When he awoke he said he found Dawn dead, and stashed her body temporarily in the closet before putting it in a bag and taking it somewhere to be cooked.
Pros: Viens never said in confessions the death was an accident.— Larry Altman (@LarryAltman) September 25, 2012
The couple operated the Thyme Contemporary Cafe in Lomita. Authorities dug up the floor of the recently renovated restaurant in search of Dawn's remains, but her body has never been found. According to Viens' tale told to investigators while hospitalized after jumping from a cliff during a police pursuit, he put some of Dawn's remains down the greasepit, others in trash bags, and kept her skull--the latter of which has never been found either.
Deliberations got underway this afternoon.