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Calif. woman goes on trial in severed penis case


Published:   |   Updated: April 17, 2013 at 08:22 PM

SANTA ANA, Calif. — A Southern California woman yelled “You deserve it” before severing her estranged husband's penis with a 10-inch kitchen knife and throwing it in a garbage disposal, a prosecutor said Wednesday in opening statements at her trial.

Catherine Kieu, 50, is accused of drugging her estranged husband's tofu with sleeping pills and tying him to a bed before the attack, the Orange County Register reported. The prosecution alleges that Kieu was motivated by jealousy, and that she was angry about her husband's plans to divorce her because he was seeing his ex-girlfriend.

Deputy Public Defender Frank Bittar told jurors that Kieu's traumatic childhood in war-torn Vietnam caused mental illness that bars her from a mayhem or torture conviction.

Bittar said Kieu met the victim at a gym, and after they married he subjected her to sexual and verbal abuse, and filed for divorce while they continued to live together in his Garden Grove home.

Audio of the July 11, 2011, incident was captured by a voice-activated recorder Kieu had hidden in the bedroom, according to Deputy District Attorney John Christl. She is heard yelling “you deserve it” three times before the attack.

The sound of the garbage disposal being turned on is also heard on the recording, he said.

The penis was too badly mangled to be re-attached, but the man survived.

The trial is expected to last two weeks.

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