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Chef who cooked wife showed "calculated ruthlessness," report says

March 22, 2013|By Ashley Powers

The chef who told authorities he accidentally killed his wife and cooked her body to dispose of it acted with a "calculated ruthlessness" that a probation officer found "chilling," according to a report filed with the court.

David Viens, 49, was convicted of second-degree murder last year, and on Friday, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Rand S. Rubin sentenced him to 15 years to life in prison. 

In a report that Rand reviewed, a probation officer took issue with Viens' claims that he had no intention of killing his wife, Dawn, in October 2009 when he duct-taped her mouth, feet and hands and then went to bed. Viens told authorities that, when he woke up, he discovered that she was "hard."

"If his story is true," the probation report said, "he made the victim his prisoner and denied her not only freedom of movement but also her ability to breathe. ... When the victim perished, he could not have been terribly surprised."

Los Angeles County sheriff's Sgt. Richard Garcia told the probation officer that Viens had not expressed regret for killing his wife.

"The defendant continuously put the blame on her, citing her alcoholism and drug use as reasons why he tied her up to keep her quiet," the report said. "It seems to Sergeant Garcia the defendant wants to say 'I did it. But she pushed buttons to make me do it.' "

But investigators felt Viens' actions after his wife's death were well-thought out, the report said. He told friends that his wife had run off. He also sent fake text messages from her phone to her friends, prosecutors said, one of which said she was in Florida.

In February 2011, when Viens learned that investigators suspected he'd played a role in his wife's disappearance, he leaped off an 80-foot cliff in Rancho Palos Verdes. 

"Sergeant Garcia believed the crime was cold-blooded and premeditated. The smallest details were thought through before the actual killing," the report said. "In his opinion, the defendant needed to spend the rest of his life in prison."

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Twitter: ashleypowers

ashley.powers@latimes.com

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