Catherine Kieu sits next to her attorney, deputy public defender, Frank Bittar, before opening statements Wednesday, April 17, 2013 in Santa Ana, Calif.
ASSOCIATED PRESS Enlarge
SANTA ANA, California — The estranged husband of a woman charged with severing his penis said it was as though his life ended the evening of the attack.
“She murdered me that night,” the man said Wednesday on the first day of the trial of Catherine Kieu, 50.
Orange County Deputy District Attorney John Christl said in his opening statement that Kieu, angry because her husband was dating a former girlfriend, laced his food with sleeping pills on July 11, 2011, then tied him to a bed, severed his penis and put it in the garbage disposal.
“I will never have a sex life again,” said the husband, who had surgery that allows him to urinate. The penis could not be reattached. “My mental state is improving, but it may never be what it was before,” he said.
The man is going only by his first name in court and is not being named by The Associated Press because of the sexual nature of the attack.
The husband said he remembered waking tied to the bed. “All of a sudden I felt a very sharp pain,” he said.
In his opening statement, Deputy Public Defender Frank Bittar told jurors that Kieu’s traumatic childhood in war-torn Vietnam caused mental illness that should prevent her from conviction on the charges of aggravated mayhem and torture.
Bittar said Kieu met the victim at a gym, and after they married he subjected her to sexual and verbal abuse, and filed for divorce while they continued to live together in his Garden Grove home.
Prosecutors played audio in court that was captured by a voice-activated recorder Kieu had hidden in the bedroom, according to Christl. She is heard yelling “you deserve it” three times before the attack on the recording.
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