'Argument' led woman to cut off husband's penis

Prosecutors say an argument over houseguests led a woman in Southern California to cut off her estranged husband's penis and put it down a garbage disposal.



Catherine Kieu, 48, was charged yesterday with torture in a case that has garnered international attention and could land her behind bars for life.



Kieu appeared briefly in Orange County Superior Court in a navy blue jail jumpsuit, hiding her face with her long, dark hair. She was appointed a public attorney and denied bail.



She was placed in the jail's medical ward to be psychologically evaluated, sheriff's spokesman Jim Amormino told the Orange County Register.



The petite woman whose chains clanked as she shuffled into the caged area of the courtroom where inmates are held will return to court July 22 for her arraignment, which was continued yesterday, and a bail review hearing.



Kieu and her husband were still living together in a Garden Grove condo that he owned. He had filed for divorce in May, and they argued before the attack about friends staying at the condo, authorities said.



On Monday night, police say Kieu spiked a meal and served it to the victim.



The 60-year-old man started to feel sick and went to lie down, then awoke tied to the bed as Kieu attacked him with a 25-centimetre kitchen knife, police said.



She then put the penis down a garbage disposal, police said.



"It's hard to believe what would motivate a person to do this sort of thing," the district attorney's chief of staff, Susan Kang Schroeder, said outside court. "It's one of the worst things you could do to a person short of killing him."



Police did not release the victim's name. He underwent surgery and was listed in good condition at University of California at Irvine Medical Center, hospital spokesman John Murray said.



Murray declined to say whether the penis was reattached or provide any additional details about the victim's condition, citing patient privacy laws.



Dr Joel Gelman heads UC Irvine's Center for Reconstructive Urology, didn't comment on the victim specifically but said a severed penis is "a terrible loss and it's the hardest thing, in our specialty, to deal with surgically."



In cases of penis loss, a penis-like structure with limited utility can be constructed using flesh and skin from the forearm, said Gelman.



Kieu was charged with one felony count of torture, one felony count of aggravated mayhem and sentencing enhancements for great bodily injury and personal use of a knife. If convicted of all counts, she could face life in prison without the possibility of parole.



Garden Grove Police Lt. Jeff Nightengale said Kieu called police Monday night to report a medical emergency and told arriving officers "he deserved it" before pointing to the room where the victim was found bleeding profusely. She was taken into custody without incident and refused to talk to officers further.



The couple was married in December 2009. When the victim filed for divorce, he cited irreconcilable differences, court records show. Kieu was slowly moving her things out of the condo, authorities said.



The victim declined to comment when he was reached by phone Tuesday by the Register.



"This is a private matter," he said.



A call by The Associated Press to a phone number listed on court documents for the victim was answered Wednesday by a person who promptly hung up.



Officers visited the victim on Tuesday and found him in "amazingly good spirits considering everything he has gone through," Nightengale said.



In 1993, Lorena Bobbitt cut off her husband's penis in Virginia and threw it out of her car window into a field on the side of the road. She claimed years of sexual abuse drove her to the attack, and she was acquitted by reason of insanity.



The penis was later reattached.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
News
Lois Pryce... Life Without a Postcode. Lois lives on a boat with her husband.. Registering to vote in the election has prooved to be very difficult without a fixed residential post code. (David Sandison)
newsHow living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing