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Woman who cut off husband's penis was vengeful, prosecutor says

April 30, 2013|By Los Angeles Times Staff
  • Catherine Kieu Becker, 50, was convicted of torture and aggravated mayhem for cutting off her husband's genitals.
Catherine Kieu Becker, 50, was convicted of torture and aggravated mayhem… (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times )

A Garden Grove woman found guilty Monday of torture and aggravated mayhem for cutting off her husband's penis was driven by vengeance, prosecutors said.

Catherine Kieu, 50, also was convicted of a sentencing enhancement for the personal use of a knife, the Orange County district attorney's office said. She faces a maximum possible sentence of life in prison and is scheduled to be sentenced June 28.

Kieu was arrested the night of July 11, 2011, after she and her 60-year-old husband -- whose name has not been released -- apparently argued about the possibility of a friend staying at their home, prosecutors said. Kieu then prepared an Ambien-laced dinner, causing her husband to become drowsy and go to bed.

As he slept, Kieu tied his legs and arms to the corners of the bed with rope, prosecutors said. When he awoke, prosecutors said, she pulled down his pants, grabbed his penis and cut it with a knife.

She then went to the kitchen, threw it in the garbage disposal and turned the disposal on, prosecutors said, "mutilating the organ."

Kieu called 911 and said her husband was bleeding, prosecutors said. The man then spoke to the dispatcher and said his wife had cut off his penis.

Garden Grove police arrived, and the man was rushed to UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange. The Times previously reported that emergency surgery to reattach the severed organ was unsuccessful.

The husband testified that his mental state had improved since the attack, the Associated Press reported, but said it "may never be what it was before."

"She murdered me that night," he said.

Prosecutors said Kieu -- who they said was angry because her husband was dating an old girlfriend -- screamed "You deserve it!" before the attack, the AP reported. Police told The Times after the arrest that Kieu had told officers her husband “deserved it.”

During closing arguments, prosecutor John Christl said she was driven by vegenence and jealousy.

"She took away everything but his life that day," Christl said, according to the Orange County Register. She "permanently deprived him of his manhood for the rest of his life."

Kieu's public defender argued that her husband verbally and sexually abused her and demanded sex in ways that were physically painful, the AP reported. The lawyer also said Kieu had mental health issues stemming from being molested as a child in Vietnam.

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