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Former HB resident’s LA murder trial begins

Murder defendant David Viens wheels himself into court for the first day of his jury trial in Los Angeles Sept. 12 on charges of killing his wife, Dawn Viens. Defense attorney Fred McCurry is at left. Photo Courtesy Sean Hiller/Daily Breeze, Torrance, Calif.

The murder trial began Sept. 12 for former Holmes Beach resident David Viens, 48, in Los Angeles.

Viens is facing second degree murder after testimony in a preliminary hearing in April in which several witnesses said Viens admitted to them he killed his wife, Dawn Viens.

He attended the trial in a wheelchair.

Viens, a former Holmes Beach resident who along with wife Dawn owned Beach City Market on Gulf Drive in Bradenton Beach, allegedly killed his wife in October 2009 by taping her mouth shut, according to his daughter.

Viens’ daughter from a previous marriage, Jacqueline Viens, testified Sept. 14 that after both had been drinking vodka, her father broke down and told her he had taped Dawn’s mouth shut and tied her up, and when he woke up, Dawn was dead.

Jacqueline Viens also testified her father once told her how to get rid of a body — cook it.

Her testimony set off wire stories from LA to New York City.

David and Dawn had operated the Thyme Contemporary Cafe in Lomita, Calif., at the time of her disappearance.

But Viens has not yet revealed what he did with the body.

The couple owned a home in Holmes Beach and operated the Beach City Market in Bradenton Beach from 2002-2005.

In January 2005, police raided the Viens home and arrested David Viens on suspicion of possession of more than 1,000 pounds of marijuana within 1,000 feet of a school — Anna Maria Elementary School — possession of opium, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and possession of a firearm.

His wife was not charged in that case, saying at the time her husband was just the “middle man” in a nationwide drug smuggling operation.

In April 2005, the Florida state’s attorney dropped all charges against Viens in exchange for evidence against others involved in the smuggling and sales operation.

The trial continues this week.

For reporter Larry Altman’s comprehensive coverage of the trial and David and Dawn Viens in the Daily Breeze, Torrance, Calif., go to: www.dailybreeze.com/news/ci_21536910/testimony-lomita-chef-viens-described-his-wife-mean.

Altman includes a timeline of events for the case and related photos and stories, including David Viens suicide attempt, a 100-foot cliff jump that followed a high-speed chase by law enforcement prior to his arrest on the charge of murder.

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