Chef Who Cooked his Wife’s Body Asks Judge for Permission to Represent Himself

David Vein, a chef who told police he accidentally killed his wife and then cooked her body to dispose of it, tried to fire his Los Angeles criminal defense attorney in hopes to represent himself.


Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Rand S. Rubin rejected Mr. Viens’ request, which was made outside the jury’s presence and before the defense’s last witness testified. The Judge said that Mr. Viens’ criminal defense attorney, Fred McCurry, had represented him proficiently. In addition, the Judge provided that it was too late in the proceedings for Mr. Viens to represent himself and take over the case.


Defendant Viens told the judge  that he was “afraid” to represent himself and needed help figuring out how to prepare witnesses and build exhibits. In addition, Viens said, he felt like he had no choice because he and his defense attorney disagreed on trial tactics.


Defendant Viens is accused of murdering his wife, Dawn who vanished in October of 2009. Viens jumped off an 80-foot cliff in Rancho Palos Verdes, when he found out that investigators suspected he was responsible for his wife’s disappearance. He survived the jump.


Prosecutors have no physical evidence of what happened to Vien’s wife, but in interviews he said that he taped her mouth and bound her hands and feet with duct tape, then went to sleep. He claims that when he woke up, his wife was dead.


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