LOS ANGELES – A U.S. man whose estranged wife cut off his penis accused her Wednesday of effectively murdering him, recounting his horror as she severed the organ and tossed it into the garbage disposal.
The 60-year-old man said he would never have sex again after his wife — who said she “wanted him to stop hurting her with his penis” — drugged him and tied him to a bed, before taking a kitchen knife to his groin.
Catherine Kieu, 50, is on trial in Los Angeles charged with torture, bodily injury with a knife and aggravated mayhem over the alleged attack at the couple’s home in Garden Grove, southeast of Los Angeles.
“She murdered me that night,” said the victim, identified in court only as Glen, recounting the events of July 11, 2011.
The prosecution alleges that Kieu was motivated by jealousy, and that she was angry about her husband’s plans to divorce her because he was seeing his ex-girlfriend.
“This is a case about a husband wanting to seek a divorce from his wife and her unwillingness to accept it,” prosecutor John Christl said at the start of her trial. “By refusing to accept it, she committed a vicious act.
“She took away his manhood,” he said, calling Kieu a “very controlling, manipulative woman . . . who knew exactly what she was doing.”
The couple had been married for less than a year when he told her in 2010 that he wanted a divorce, although they continued living together for financial reasons.
She accused him of being “hypersexual” and seeing too much of the ex-girlfriend, and planted audio devices around their home to try to catch him out — bugs that ended up capturing the horrific attack.
One voice-activated recorder that Kieu had hidden in the bedroom recorded her yelling, “You deserve it” three times before the attack.
The victim said Kieu made him a tofu-and-chicken dish, which lawyers allege was laced with the insomnia drug Zolpidem, on the night of the attack, while she had only a salad. Soon afterward, he felt groggy and retired to bed early.
His next memory was waking up with his arms and feet tied to the corners of the bed. His wife was standing at the foot of the bed.
Recalling the moment she mutilated him, he said Kieu “pulled on my shorts. I didn’t really understand what she was doing. . . . I looked down and I saw something metallic, silver, shiny. I still didn’t know what was going on.
“I felt her grab hold of my penis. I was very surprised. All of a sudden, I felt a very sharp pain and she had cut my penis off and then threw it on the carpet next to the bed,” he said.
At first he felt “excruciating” pain. “But I must’ve gone into shock, because the pain subsided,” he recalled, adding that he recalled his wife picking up his penis and leaving the room.
“The next thing I heard was the garbage disposal. . . . I don’t know how long that went on — a long time,” he said.
A short time later, Kieu returned and he asked her to call for an ambulance. She held the phone up so he could talk to the 911 dispatcher. She put a towel over his groin, which was bleeding heavily.
The penis was too badly mangled to be reattached.
He spent a few days in a hospital and underwent surgery — but “not reconstructive surgery” — in order “to make it (his penis) usable as far as going to the bathroom.”
“Of course, I will never have a sex life again,” he said. “The healing process may never be completely finished. My mental state is improving, but it may never be what it was before.”
Kieu’s lawyer, Frank Bittar, said she had suffered a “lifetime of trauma” beginning with her childhood in civil war-torn Vietnam, childhood in civil war-torn Vietnam, including being raped by an older brother repeatedly when she was 6 years old.
After moving to California, she married for the first time in 1984, but agreed to an “amicable” divorce in 1997.
Bittar said Kieu met the victim at a gym, and after they married he subjected her to sexual and verbal abuse.
“She’s not jealous and she’s not wicked and she’s not a black widow,” Bittar insisted.
Kieu married her second husband in December 2009. He was “hypersexual,” the lawyer said, using erectile dysfunction drugs and forcing her into “painful” sexual positions. “You’re going to learn that in Catherine’s mind, she severed his penis because she wanted him to stop hurting her with his penis,” he said in his opening statement.
If convicted, Kieu faces up to life in prison without the possibility of parole.