Woman accused in penis attack may have tainted victim's tofu soup
Detectives have sent evidence to a laboratory to try to determine what kind of poison was used, the source said.
The suspect, Catherine Kieu Becker, is scheduled to appear in court Friday for arraignment, but the hearing may be postponed.
Becker, 48, faces one felony count each of torture and aggravated mayhem with sentencing enhancements for great bodily injury and personal use of a knife. Orange County prosecutors charge that she cut off her husband's penis and threw it in a garbage disposal after drugging him and tying him to a bed.
If convicted on all counts, she faces a maximum sentence of life in prison with the possibility of parole.
The law enforcement source told The Times that a dispute over an "inappropriate relationship" may have been the motive in the case.
The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the case was ongoing, said the couple had argued earlier in the day and that Becker was angry at the husband over a relationship. Police said that when they confronted the woman, she said her husband "deserved it."
Becker, a real estate broker, lived with her husband, identified by prosecutors only as John Doe, in a Garden Grove apartment.
Officials said the husband told police that his wife served him dinner and that he went to bed about 9 p.m. on July 11. Officials believe he might have been suffering the effects of the tainted soup, the law enforcement source said. While he was sleeping, she "tied the victim's legs and arms to the four corners of the bed with nylon ropes," prosecutors said in court papers.
The victim told authorities that when he woke up, his wife pulled down his pants, "grabbing the victim’s penis and severing it with a knife." She then took the penis to the kitchen and threw it in the garbage disposal, "turning it on and mutilating the organ."
She then called 911, officials said.
The husband underwent surgery but the severed organ could not be reattached.RELATED:
-- Andrew Blankstein
Photo: Catherine Kieu Becker, center, speakes to Vietnamese language interpreter Bao Luu, left, and public defender Frank Bittar in court Friday. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times