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David Viens, LA chef accused of cooking his wife, won't testify at his murder trial, attorney says

(CBS/AP) LOS ANGELES - A chef accused of killing his wife and then cooking her body for four days in boiling water won't take the stand in his own defense in his murder trial, according to his attorney.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the judge reminded David Viens, 49, Wednesday that it was his decision whether to take the stand, regardless of what his attorney may want.

Viens has pleaded not guilty to murdering his 39-year-old wife, Dawn, in late 2009. Her remains have never been found.

Jurors on Tuesday heard a recording played in court of Viens telling sheriff's investigators they couldn't find his wife's body because he cooked it until little was left but her skull.

"I just slowly cooked it and I ended up cooking her for four days," Viens could be heard saying on the recording.

Detectives interviewed Viens in March 2011 as he lay in a hospital bed. Viens leapt off a cliff after he learned he was a suspect in her death.

Viens, whose injuries from the jump have him attending his trial in a wheelchair, said in the interview that he stuffed his wife's body in a 55-gallon drum of boiling water and kept in submerged with weights.

He said he mixed what remained after four days with other waste, dumping some of it in a grease pit at his restaurant in Lomita, and putting the rest in the trash.

He said the only significant thing left was his wife's skull, which he stashed in his mother's attic at her home in Torrance. But a search of the house turned up nothing, nor did an excavation of the restaurant.

Viens said he had suspected his wife of stealing from his restaurant. When he arrived home the night he allegedly killed her, he noticed money missing. Viens said his wife got angry with him and he forced her onto the floor where he wrapped her up and put a piece of clear duct tape over her mouth.

He said when he awoke four hours later, his wife was dead.

During opening statements, Viens' defense said he took Ambien before he bound his wife, City News Service reports.

Complete coverage of David Viens on Crimesider

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