Catherine Kieu, also known as Catherine Kieu Becker, was convicted of aggravated torture and mayhem in 2013 for mutilating her husband's genitalia. The couple had been in the process of getting a divorce, but had continued to share their condominium. During the trial, the prosecution argued that Kieu assaulted her husband because he had re-established a relationship with an ex-girlfriend of his; the defense argued it was because of sexual and emotional abuse.
Kieu was accused of drugging her husband, cutting off his penis with a 10-inch kitchen knife, and putting it in a garbage disposal to prevent reattachment on July 11, 2011. Kieu called the police after the incident. When they arrived her husband was in bed, bleeding and tied down. He had emergency surgery at UC Irvine Medical Center, and was released, but did not have his penis reattached. He is able to urinate, but unable to have sexual intercourse. He stated at trial that as a result of the assault and permanent injury to his genitalia, he felt as if he had been murdered.
The responding police had not determined a clear motive for Kieu's actions, but Kieu's husband filed for divorce in May, 2011, and the couple remained together in their Garden Grove condominium. KTLA reported that they were married December 29, 2009 and had been married 16 months.[nb 1] Kieu was charged with false imprisonment, assault with a deadly weapon, aggravated mayhem, poisoning, administering a drug with intent to commit a felony, and spousal abuse. She was held in an Orange County, California jail on a $1 million bond.[nb 2]
The case went to trial in April 2013 and Kieu was indicted of torture and aggravated mayhem. She pleaded not guilty. During the trial, the prosecution alleged that Kieu committed the crime because her husband had re-established a relationship with an ex-girlfriend and filed for divorce. Frank Bittar, her public defender, argued that Kieu had been subjected to sexual and verbal abuse. During her childhood in Vietnam, Kieu had been subjected to molestation and other abuse. Bittar stated that Kieu's husband "demanded sex in ways that caused her pain" and that his client had "a break from reality" when she committed the crime. A voice activated recorder captured the event on July 11, 2011 and the audio recording was replayed in the courtroom; Kieu yelled 3 times "you deserve it" before assaulting her husband.
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."
Discussion on The Talk
Sharon Osbourne and other co-hosts joked about the incident and made light of Kieu's crimes on the daytime television show The Talk. Regarding the incident, Osbourne said "I don't know the circumstances... However, I do think it's quite fabulous." Co-host Sara Gilbert said "...it is a little bit sexist. If somebody cut a woman's breast off, nobody would be sitting laughing."
- Initially, the couple were reported to have been married 11 1/2 years,
- In July 2011, she was reported by the International Business Times to be 48 and her victim, 51. KTLA reported in April, 2013 that the wife and husband were 50 and 60, respectively. Huffington Post also reported that Kieu's husband was 60 years of age in 2013.
- Nadine DeNinno (July 13, 2011). "Woman Cuts Off Husband's Penis, Grinds it in Garbage Disposal". International Business Times.
- "Trial Begins for Woman Accused of Cutting Off Husband's Penis". April 17, 2013. Retrieved June 22, 2013.
- "California man describes night wife cut off penis". AP Worldstream (accessed via HighBeam Research). Press Association, Inc. April 18, 2013. Retrieved June 22, 2013.
- Gillian Flaccus (April 29, 2013). "Catherine Kieu Guilty: Jury Convicts Woman Accused Of Severing Husband's Penis". Huffington Post. Retrieved June 22, 2013.
- "Catherine Kieu Found Guilty Of Cutting Off Husband's Penis; Southern California Woman Convicted Of Torture, Aggravated Mayhem". International Business Times. April 29, 2013. Retrieved June 22, 2013.
- "Catherine Kieu Sentenced To Life In Prison For Amputating Husband's Penis". Huffingtonpost.com. June 28, 2013. Retrieved 2013-08-03.
- "Kevin Myers: Different rules now apply for heterosexual men -- both in California and here in Ireland". Irish Independent. July 29, 2011. Retrieved June 22, 2013.
- "'The Talk' ladies under fire for laughing at Catherine Kieu story (Video)". The Washington Post. July 18, 2011. Retrieved June 22, 2013.
- on YouTube