A woman who cut off her husband’s penis and threw it in the garbage disposal was convicted Monday.
Fifty-year-old Catherine Kieu faces life imprisonment after jurors found her guilty of torture and aggravated mayhem for the July 2011 attack.
Kieu drugged her husband’s tofu before chopping off his penis and leaving the organ in a garbage disposal unit. The penis was mangled beyond repair. The 60-year-old victim testified that his penis could not be reattached and that he felt as though he had been murdered.
Sentencing of Kieu will take place June 28. The Orange County district attorney’s office confirmed Kieu will face a maximum sentence of life in prison but with a possibility of parole.
Speaking after the verdict, Deputy District Attorney John Christl told reporters:
“This woman went to extreme lengths to destroy this man’s manhood by placing it in the garbage disposal. She did this out of vengeance, vanity and jealousy.”
Kieu, who used a 10-inch kitchen knife in the attack, was said to be angry about her husband’s intentions to divorce her. Her husband had begun to see his ex-girlfriend again, confirmed the prosecution.
Kieu and the victim, who has remained anonymous throughout the case, married after meeting at a gym. Public defender Frank Bittar argued that Kieu had been sujected to verbal and sexual abuse during the marriage.
Bittar added that Kieu had a history of mental health problems that could be traced back to her childhood in Vietnam. Molestation and other traumatic experiences in the war-torn country had exacerbated the problems, argued Bittar. Prosectuing attorney Christl dismissed the argument:
“I think the jury was able to see through the evidence. There were no facts or evidence presented other than the defendant’s own statements to her doctor about sexual abuse.”
Kieu’s case recalls the 1994 trial of Lorena Bobbit, who was charged with severing the penis of then-husband John Wayne Bobbit. Lorena was found not guilty due to insanity causing an irresistible impulse to sexually wound her husband. She was instructed by a judge to undergo a 45-day evaluation period at Central State Hospital and was later released.