In a case compared to that of a Virginia woman who cut off her husband's penis, a Los Angeles woman was accused Thursday of castrating her spouse with a five-inch pair of shears as he slept.
Aurelia Macias, 35, was initially charged with corporal injury to a spouse, a felony that carries a maximum four-year prison term. But at a court hearing Thursday, Deputy Dist. Atty. Larry Longo added the more serious charge of mayhem after he learned from medical records the extent of injuries to her husband, Jaime.
Though the Virginia case of Lorena Bobbitt has drawn intense public interest, Longo contended that malicious mutilation of a man's sexual organs is not as uncommon as some might believe.
But it was the sensational circumstances of the Bobbitt case that drew international attention. In June, Bobbitt severed her husband's penis with a kitchen knife, then threw it out a car window as she fled their Manassas, Va., apartment. Police found it in the grass and surgeons were able to reattach it.
The attorney for Aurelia Macias said Thursday after the Superior Court hearing that her client had suffered physical abuse and philandering by her husband.
"It is a defensible case," attorney Nan Whitfield said, but she declined to say what her defense would be.
In the hours before the attack on Sept. 20, 1992, the Maciases had spent several hours at a baptismal celebration at an apartment next door. According to Longo, Jaime Macias drank and danced with women other than his wife.
The couple left the party and went home. At 4 a.m., Jaime Macias woke up with a searing pain in his groin. He discovered the injury when he got up and went to the bathroom and found blood all over his pajamas. He went into shock, Longo said.
The Macias' teen-age son, who was awakened by his father's screaming, called police.
At Thursday's hearing, Whitfield told Superior Court Judge Marsha N. Revel that the Maciases, who have been separated since the attack, want to reconcile their 17-year marriage.
In a telephone conference with Judge Revel in open court during the hearing Thursday, Jaime Macias told the jurist he wanted a restraining order against his wife lifted so his family could be together for the holidays. As a result, Revel lifted a longstanding restraining order barring the wife from being near her husband. Aurelia Macias is free on her own recognizance.
Longo discounted Whitfield's contention that Jaime Macias, 37, wants to repair his marriage. Longo suggested the husband instead wants his wife in the home so she can take care of their three children, ages 18 months to 17 years.