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Woman accused in penis attack to be arraigned Sept. 23 [Updated]

July 22, 2011 | 12:47 pm

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 Arraignment was postponed Friday for a Garden Grove woman accused of cutting off her estranged husband's penis and running it through the garbage disposal.

Orange County Superior Court Judge Debra Carrillo agreed to a continuance and set Sept. 23 as the next hearing for Catherine Kieu, 48, who is being held on $1-million bail. She appeared briefly in court Friday and used a Vietnamese interpreter.

Her attorney, Frank Bittar, a public defender with the county, requested that media not be allowed in the proceedings, which the judge denied.

Bittar declined to speak to reporters outside the courtroom in Westminster except to say of the case, "There is more than meets the eye." 

Officials with the district attorney's office said the investigation is ongoing. The charges against Kieu include torture and aggravated mayhem, both of which carry life sentences.

Kieu allegedly laced her husband's dinner with drugs and then cut off his penis with a 10-inch kitchen knife.

She served him a strange-tasting tofu soup that police believe was poisoned, according to a law enforcement source. Detectives have sent evidence to a laboratory to try to determine what kind of poison was used, the source said.

[Updated at 4:40 p.m.:  In a search warrant obtained Friday by The Times, police detail the incident. The victim, a 60-year-old man, was lying on the bed, his hands and feet tied to the bedpost with a white nylon rope. He had a towel covering his groin area and told police his wife, Kieu, cut him. According to the affidavit, the victim came home from work at 5:30. The two had a discussion about a "male friend staying with them, but Kieu did not want the friend to stay with them." The victim said Kieu prepared tofu for dinner. "The victim remembers the food tasting 'metallic.' " Kieu asked the victim if he wanted seconds and he said no. After dinner, the man felt tired and went to bed about 9 p.m. He awoke to find Kieu tying his right wrist, and pulling off his clothes. He alleges she grabbed his penis and "with one swift motion, she severed it."]

After officers arrived at the couple's Garden Grove home, Kieu reportedly made a statement to police that her husband "deserved it." The couple had been married since late 2009, but the victim had filed for a divorce in May, citing "irreconcilable differences."

The victim, who had been tied to a bed and was awake during the July 11 attack, was taken to UC Irvine Medical Center and underwent emergency surgery. He has since been released.



Woman accused in penis attack may have tainted victim's tofu soup

Woman accused of cutting off husband's penis

Woman charged with cutting off husband's penis using 10-inch knife

-- Nicole Santa Cruz

Photo: Catherine Kieu, center, speaks to Vietnamese language interpreter Bao Luu, left, and public defender Frank Bittar in court Friday. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times