Bail was set at $1 million Friday for a California woman charged with cutting off her husband’s penis with a kitchen knife and grinding it up in a garbage disposer before calling 911.
Catherine Kieu, 48, is charged with torture and aggravated mayhem for allegedly tying her husband’s legs and arms to the bed where he slept, then pulling down his pants and severing his penis. She then took the penis to the kitchen, put it down the garbage disposal and turned it on, Reuters reports.
The incident, which happened on July 11, was sparked by an argument the couple had over guests who were staying at their house in Garden Grove, a Los Angeles suburb, prosecutors said. Police suspect Kieu put drugs or poison in her husband’s dinner to make him groggy, then entered the bedroom after he fell asleep. Prosecutors won’t know for sure until they get the results of the husband’s toxicology reports in two to three weeks, the L.A. Times reports.
When the police arrived at the house to find her husband tied to the bed and bleeding, Kieu told them “He deserved it,” prosecutors said. While she’s been held without bail since the incident, her husband, 60, underwent emergency surgery at a nearby hospital and is now recovering at home.
Unlike John Wayne Bobbitt, whose wife, Lorena, famously cut off his penis in 1993, there was nothing to reattach. Because Bobbitt’s wife threw his penis out of a car window, police were able to recover it and Bobbitt had it surgically reattached. In this case, Kieu “mutilated the organ” beyond recovery in the garbage disposer, prosecutors said.
Her arraignment in Orange County Superior Court has been postponed until September 23 so that her new public defender can get up to speed on the case. If convicted, Kieu faces a maximum of life in prison without parole.
The couple, who married in December 2009, was reportedly going through a divorce. The husband had filed divorce papers in May, citing “irreconcilable differences.”