The jury in David Viens trial failed to reach a verdict and will have to continue deliberations. 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.
The panel spent about 4 1/2 hours over two days trying to decide whether Viens is guilty of first-degree murder. The jurors also asked the court for the definition of second-degree murder, since they could convict Viens of second-degree murder or manslaughter instead. The court referred them to the jury instructions.
Played for the jury, were two interviews Viens gave to investigators, while he was hospitalized. In the second interview, he described a horrific body disposal process that the defense said was too bizarre to believe. Viens said that he packed her body into a large drum, boiled it in water over four days and dumped most of what remained into the grease trap of his restaurant, Thyme Contemporary Cafe.
During the trial, Vien’s Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Fred McCurry didn’t challenge the premise that Viens’s wife was dead. The criminal defense attorney also did not suggest that she was killed by someone other than Viens. Instead, the LA defense attorney argued that the evidence didn’t support a first-degree murder conviction, which requires proof of premeditation. The defense attorney described her death as an accident, which mirrors the account David Viens allegedly gave to his daughter and ex-girlfriend.
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