LOS ANGELES: A US chef was convicted of second degree murder on Thursday after he admitted to slow-cooking his wife's body for four days to get rid of the evidence, while claiming she had died accidentally.
During a grisly six-day trial David Viens, 49, told police he had bound his 39-year-old wife Dawn with duct tape to stop her from escaping, and then went to sleep. He awoke four hours later to find her dead, and panicked.
He put her body in a large drum and boiled it. "I just slowly cooked it and I ended up cooking her for four days," he said in an interview with detectives played during the trial.
"I cooked her (for) four days. I let her cool, I strained it out" and then threw the remains in the trash, he said. Her body was never found after she disappeared in October 2009.
He is due to be sentenced on November 27, and faces anything from 15 years to life in prison.
The former restaurant owner from Lomita, south of Los Angeles, had bound her similarly probably twice before, because he "didn't want her driving around wasted, whacked out on coke and drinking," he said.
Prosecutor Deborah Brazil had called for Viens to be convicted of first degree murder, arguing that his wife's death "was no accident."
Dawn "likely met her death in a much more violent fashion" -- such as being choked -- than her husband admitted, Brazil said.
"That is why the defendant needed the four days to completely destroy and dispose of Dawn Viens's body."
Viens also told detectives he believed one bag of body parts remained, and that he believed the skull was in his mother's attic. Detectives searched the attic but found nothing.
The six-man, six-woman jury panel deliberated for five and a half hours before returning their verdict of second degree murder following the trial.
Viens appeared in court in a wheelchair as a result of injuries sustained during an 80-foot (25-meter) jump off a cliff in February 2011, shortly after he told his girlfriend that his wife's death was an accident.
He also told his daughter that his wife had died accidentally.
The victim's sister, Dayna Papin, said after the verdict that Viens "has to pay for what he did."
But she added: "There's no happy ending. I don't think there (are) any winners or losers. Two families have suffered tremendously and we will continue to. I don't think it's over. I think he's going to continue to fight."
One of the jurors, Tal Erickson, said the jury had hesitated between finding Viens guilty on second or first degree murder, but that there was little doubt he was guilty of his wife's death.
"My opinion was if he was innocent, he wouldn't jump off a cliff," Erickson said.
A friend of the couple, Karen Patterson, said: "My good friend murdered my good friend.
"Dawn loved him dearly and he killed his wife of 17 years who'd been through everything with him, that trusted him and loved him and he treated her, literally, like a piece of meat and got rid of her," she added.
"Shame on him." (AFP)
5 of family trapped inside burning car die
In a horrific tragedy, a car collided with a tractor trailer. The smaller vehicle was engulfed in flames when its fuel tank exploded.
A family of five who were the occupants of the passenger car burnt to death after the car was centrally locked due to the hard impact of the collision, reports The Times of India.
By the time the firefighters were summoned and they arrived at the scene on the Delhi-Agra highway, the five passengers were charred to death.
When the accident took place, the small car was moving at a high speed and the tractor that was just ahead of the speeding vehicle stopped abruptly due to some technical fault.
The car's driver could not avert disaster and hit into the tractor at terrific speed. As a result of the impact, the LPG cylinder fitted into the car exploded.
A probe is on to find out if the LPG fitting was faulty.
Why did professor disrobe in front of class?
WASHINGTON: A professor of Michigan State University lost his cool and started screaming at his students and even took off his clothes while he was venting his rage.
It is not clear why the teacher started shouting at the engineering students but according to an eye witness he not only shoted at the students but also slammed his hands on the window and pressed his face against it - all the while continuing to scream. He also used abusive words, reports The Press Trust of India.
The administration called the cops and he was taken into protective custody and transported in a local hospital where he is undergoing medical examination to know the reason for the strange outburst.
The students were so scared when they saw him taking his clothes off, they ran out of the class.
Some students are said to be in a state of shock after the incident in the university.
Cheating spouses keep private detectives busy
PAKISTAN: Twenty-three years of military service come in handy when Masood Haider gets a call from a suspicious spouse.
He quickly dispatches a surveillance team to keep tabs on the partner believed to be heading off for an illicit rendezvous.
In deeply conservative Muslim Pakistan where arranged marriages are common and adultery can be punished by death, it is an illustration of how much the society is changing that Haider's private detective agency exists at all.
"What was taken as taboo 20 to 25 years ago is no more taken that way," said Haider, 53, a former army pilot who founded FactFinders, Pakistan's first licensed private detective agency.
The business of exposing cheating spouses, he says, is growing.
"People simply understand that if two people cannot live under one roof and they cannot co-exist peacefully it is better to disengage and carry on with their lives instead of dragging it on."
Pakistan portrays itself as a progressive Islamic nation. But since the 1980s, it has been drifting towards a more conservative interpretation of Islam that has reshaped the political landscape, fuelled militancy and cowed champions of tolerance into silence.
Adultery is a capital crime under Islamic Sharia law. Death sentences are rarely carried out by the state but people sometimes do take matters into their own hands, especially in rural areas.
Yet women are becoming increasingly assertive about confronting unfaithful spouses. So are men.
"When I opened this company I was not sure whether Pakistani men would confide in me regarding their wives," said Haider, in his spacious office in the city of Lahore where he began his venture on Valentine's Day two years ago.
"But to my surprise the first case I received was of a cheating wife."
His services do not come cheap. The downpayment for FactFinders to check on an unfaithful partner is $5,500, out of reach of most people who on average bring home just $60 a month.
Clients are mostly wealthy Pakistanis who live here, or in Britain, the United States or United Arab Emirates and want to keep a close eye on spouses or fiancées from afar.
His investigations are not restricted to cases of infidelity.
One man, for example, desperately wanted him to retrieve a stolen computer with compromising pictures of his naked wife.
But it is mostly husbands or wives tormented by suspicion of cheating who turn to Haider.
His website promises to "Off load your burden with full confidentiality" with the suggestive image of a turned-over high heeled-shoe beside a wine glass. To reinforce the point, another photograph shows a luxury car splashed with graffiti from an angry wife or girlfriend.
For the really desperate, there is an emergency hotline.
"I think if women could afford it, 80 percent of Pakistani women would be here," said one woman client.
"In our culture women are discouraged. They are expected to suck it up and be quiet about it. I am done with the being scared part."
His staff of 30, scattered across Pakistan with a few in Britain for clients there, are recruited from retired military and police officers and the financial industry.
Fatima, 32, worked for Britain's Scotland Yard before joining Haidar's outfit, where she does research and manages surveillance teams and other operations.
"In a country like Pakistan, we should promote such things (businesses). There is nothing bad about it."
Some philanderers go to creative extremes to avoid being caught.
A wealthy Karachi man posed as a rent-a-car driver when meeting his lover. To keep a closer watch, Haider deployed a female detective agent disguised as a maid in the woman's house .
"So, under one roof, the driver was not the driver and the maid was not the maid. It was 'The Bold and the Beautiful' going on in real life," said Haider, referring to the US television soap opera.
Most infidelity takes place in the first five years of marriage or 20 years into married life, he pointed out.
The indiscretions may be one reason why divorce rates are rising. The Islamabad Arbitration Council, where divorces are officially registered, says the number of broken marriages, have doubled in the last ten years.
In 2011, there were 557 divorces filed in the capital Islamabad alone, compared to 208 in 2002.
Even after 150 cases, some still shock Haider.
"A client caught his wife red-handed in the bedroom with her lover," said Haider, who has grey hair and a light mustache and retired from the army in 2000. "Instead of being ashamed, she blamed the lover for being caught."
"'It is because of this idiot that I was caught. Otherwise I was doing it for three years'," Haider laughingly quoted her as telling her husband. "I thought 'look at the guts of this lady'." (Reuters)
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