After several starts and stops, Catherine Kieu Becker finally entered another not guilty plea today to slicing off her estranged husband's penis as he was waking up, throwing the member into the garbage disposal and turning it on. That means she still could have done it, as she supposedly admitted to police at the time, and is planning a defense of insanity, temporary insanity or, "Oops, I thought I'd disposed of a rotting piece of cauliflower."
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Here's what cops and prosecutors say happened the night of July 11, 2011: after the couple argued over a friend staying at their Garden Grove residence on a later date, Kieu made dinner for her 60-year-old husband, who'd previously filed for divorce. He later felt tired and went to bed, only to awake to discover his arms and legs had been bound to the bedpost, and the Mrs. was in the process of slicing off his manhood with a 10-inch kitchen knife. After the dirty deed, she is alleged to have called the cops, admitting over the phone that she had done it and that her unidentified mate deserved it. Paramedics retrieved the penis out of the disposal, but surgeons could not re-attach it during emergency surgery at UCI Medical Center in Orange.
Kieu, 48, also pleaded not guilty at a previous arraignment. The need for the new plea was necessitated by the grand jury indicting her on felony torture and mayhem charges, with a sentencing enhancement for the use of a knife to commit a crime. Entering a plea to the indictment removes the need for a preliminary hearing and speeds up the quest for justice, according to prosecutors. Kieu could get life in state prison with a conviction.
Superior Court Judge Craig Robison ordered a Feb. 24 pretrial hearing. Kieu is being held in lieu of $1 million bail.