Viet Am Who Cut Off Hubby's Penis Claims Insanity

Catherine Kieu drugged her husband and cut off his penis because he was manipulative and she had a break with reality, her defense attorney argued Thursday during the opening statement of her trial on charges of torture and aggravated mayhem.

On the night of July 11, 2011 Kieu, 50, and her husband, 60, argued about the possibility of a friend staying at their home, prosecutors said. Upset, Kieu is accused of cooking a dinner that she laced with the prescription sleep medication Ambien. Her husband became drowsy and went to bed.

While he slept Kieu used rope to tie his legs and arms to the corners of the bed, prosecutors allged. When he awoke she pulled down his pants, grabbed his penis and cut it off with a knife. She then went to the kitchen, threw it into the garbage disposal and turned it on, “mutilating the organ”, prosecutors said.

Kieu then called 911 and reported that her husband was bleeding. He got on the phone and told the dispatcher that his wife had cut off his penis. He was rushed to the UC Irvine Medical Center in nearby Orange but the emergency surgery to reattach the penis was unsuccessful.

Kieu told police that her husband “deserved” her actions.

If Kieu is convicted as charged she may get a maximum of life in prison with the possibility of parole due to a sentencing enhancement for having used a knife, according to the district attorney’s office. She pled not guilty to the charges.

During Thursday’s opening statement her defense attorneys suggested that Kieu suffered from mental problems resulting from having grown up in war-torn Vietnam. They said she had long been manipulated by her husband, had become a “doormat” to him and “had a break with reality.”

Prosecutors contended that she was motivated by jealousy. A tough life in Vietnam “doesn’t change the fact she sliced off the penis due to her vengeance, vanity and jealousy,” said Deputy District Attorney John Christi.