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Victim in penis-severing case recovering after surgery

July 13, 2011 |  6:55 am

Suspect

A man whose penis whose was cut off, allegedly by his wife, was recovering after surgery, officials said.

The 51-year-old victim, whose name was not released, was rushed late Monday to UC Irvine Medical Center, where he underwent emergency surgery on Tuesday, officials said.

The hospital listed him in good condition following the surgery but declined to release any further details.

Reached by phone by the Orange County Register, he said only: "This is a private matter."

Garden Grove police allege that the victim's wife laced his dinner with drugs and then cut off his penis with a 10-inch kitchen knife.

After officers arrived at the couple's Garden Grove home, Catherine Kieu Becker, 48, allegedly made a spontaneous statement to police that her husband "deserved it."

Police said they did not have a motive in the Monday evening attack, though court records showed that the couple -- who have been married for 1 1/2 years -- had begun divorce proceedings in May. The records showed that the couple have no children and suggested that the husband initiated the divorce.

"On the surface, we have nothing more than the divorce proceeding," said Lt. Jeff Nightengale of the Garden Grove Police Department. "We don't have any strong motive leading to this level of violence."

Officers arrived at the couple's home in the 14000 block of Flower Street after Becker called 911 about 9 p.m. Monday, and they found a bleeding man tied to a bed, according to police.

Officials said Becker, 48, told police she had drugged her husband's dinner to make him sleepy, tied him to the bed and then cut off his penis, which she tossed into the garbage disposal.

Becker was arrested on suspicion of aggravated mayhem, false imprisonment, assault with a deadly weapon, administering a drug with intent to commit a felony, poisoning and spousal abuse.

The severe nature of the crime led detectives to classify it as aggravated mayhem, an offense punishable by a sentence of up to life in prison, Nightengale said.

"You're not just depriving a person of a member or portion of their body or disfiguring them," he said. "You're doing something that's so egregious we're not sure what's going to happen, if they're going to be able to reattach this or repair this person after such a violent attack."

Becker is being held on $1-million bail.

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-- Andrew Blankstein

Photo: Catherine Kieu Becker. Credit: Garden Grove Police Department

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