Chef Tells Judge: 'I Didn't Cook My Wife'

03/22/2013 at 03:30 PM EDT

Chef Sentenced for Wife's Murder; Dies Cooking Her
David and Dawn Viens
Miami Herald/MCT /Landov
A chef was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison Friday for his wife's murder after telling the judge he was innocent in the bizarre case.

"I didn't cook my wife," David Viens, 49, insisted at his sentencing in Los Angeles Superior Court.

The chef was convicted in September of second-degree murder in the 2009 death of Dawn Viens, whose body was never found.

Viens told the court he has no recollection of giving a hospital-bedside statement to investigators that he cooked her body in boiling water for four days to get rid of evidence. A recording of the interrogation was played during the trial.

"I loved my wife," said Viens, who uses a wheelchair after suffering injuries from jumping off a cliff when he learned he was a suspect.

He added, "I never meant what happened to happen."

Viens gave varying accounts of how his wife died, according to witnesses at the trial – from admitting that he accidentally killed her to claiming his wife walked away and never returned.

He spoke for a half-hour at his sentencing, protesting that he deserved a retrial because his defense attorney did not present enough evidence and should have allowed him to testify. The judge denied the retrial request.

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