UPDATED, JULY 22, 4:22 P.M.: Orange County Superior Court Judge Debra Carrillo in Westminster agreed to continue Catherine Kieu Becker's arraignment until Sept. 23.
The 48-year-old Garden Grove resident's public defender, Frank Bittar, asked Carrillo to bar the media from covering the proceedings, something the judge denied. Bittar later told reporters outside the courtroom that, "There is more than meets the eye."
Or a certain other body part, presumably.
UPDATED, JULY 22, 7:03 A.M.: 48-year-old Catherine Kieu Becker is due back in court in Westminster at 9 a.m. this morning to continue her arraignment on charges of slicing off her husband's pecker.
However, the Orange County District Attorney's office heads up that the defense will likely request a continuance.
The Garden Grove resident, who is currently being held without bail and has undergone mental examinations, could get life in state prison with the possibility of parole if convicted of the charges pending against her.
UPDATED, JULY 13, 3:31 P.M.: This afternoon's arraignment of Catherine Kieu Becker was delayed until July 22.
The Orange County District Attorney's office (OCDA) today charged the 48-year-old, Vietnamese-born Garden Grove resident with one felony count of torture, one felony count of aggravated mayhem, and sentencing enhancements for great bodily injury and personal use of a knife.
If convicted on all counts, she could spend life in state prison with the possibility of parole.
Following today's hearing in Westminster, where she reportedly sat with her face covered in her long black hair, Becker returned to Orange County Jail, where she is being held without bail. The Orange County Sheriff's Department, which runs the jail, says she is being kept in the medical ward for observation.
Meanwhile, in the OCDA's account of her alleged crimes, her unidentified husband's age was listed as 60. The Garden Grove Police Department had previously said he is 51. Here is the OCDA's brief account:
On the night of July 11, 2011, Kieu is accused of engaging John Doe in an argument over friends staying at the residence. The defendant is accused of serving John Doe dinner. After feeling tired, at approximately 9:00 p.m., John Doe went to bed. As he slept in his bed, Kieu is accused of tying the victim's legs and arms to the four corners of the bed with nylon ropes. As he awoke, she is accused of pulling down John Doe's pants, grabbing the victim's penis and severing it with a knife. Kieu is accused of then taking the penis to the kitchen, throwing it into the garbage disposal, turning it on, and mutilating the organ. Kieu is accused of contacting 911.
Meanwhile, we couldn't help but snicker when we saw this tweet:
UPDATED, JULY 13, 9:07 A.M.: As the dismembered husband of Catherine Kieu Becker improves in a UCI Medical Center hospital bed, his 48-year-old wife is sitting in an Orange County Jail cell in lieu of $1 million bail.
And, if the current charges stick, she's looking at the possibility of life in prison.
Meanwhile, the nation's media are comparing the Vietnamese-American to another infamous penis chopper.
Here are the latest details that have emerged since our last report:
- Reached by the media at the hospital, Becker's husband declined to identify himself, would not discuss the incident and called the attack a "private matter." (All you snickering, "More like privates matter," stop right now!)
- His condition was upgraded to good, and doctors expect he will survive. It has not been disclosed whether what was left of his penis could be re-attached.
- Speaking of that, a first responder had to retrieve the ground-up penis out of the couple's garbage disposal and rush it to UCI.
- The weapon his wife allegedly used was a 10-inch kitchen knife.
- There were no witnesses.
- The couple resides in the Flower Tree condominium complex at 14171 Flower St., Garden Grove, where neighbors are expressing shock.
- They married on Dec. 29, 2009, and the husband filed for divorce just last May.
- The 9-1-1 tape is expected to be released soon.
Needless to say, international media attention has been intense. One thing we've noticed (perhaps since we read it in our comments section first) is how often newshounds and bloggers are comparing the actions Becker is accused of performing with those of Lorena Bobbitt, who famously de-peckered John Wayne Bobbitt while her then-husband slept in 1993.
Consider the following:
- Although details of the incident remain sparse, the alleged crime will undoubtedly have people heading to Wikipedia for a refresher on Lorena Bobbitt, who infamously severed her husband's penis in 1993. (Slate)
- U.S. Woman Bobbitises Husband (Times of India)
- On June 23, 1993, John Wayne Bobbitt was laying asleep when wife Loreana got out of bed, and went to the kitchen for a drink of water. She then grabbed a carving knife in the kitchen, returned to the bed, and cut off half of Bobbitt's manhood. Loreana then hit the road in her vehicle and tossed the severed male body part out of the window. (LaLate)
- Catherine Kieu Becker is the New Lorena Bobbitt: Cut's Off Husband's Penis
Remember Lorena Bobbitt, the estranged housewife that cut off her husband's penis? Well prepare for the sequel. (BungalowBill's)
- TMZ ran the photos above of Ms. Bobbitt and Ms. Becker with this headline: "Penis Cutters: Who'd You Rather?" (TMZ)
Meanwhile, HyperVocal compared the Garden Grove crime to another pop culture figure with this headline:
"Wife Makes Good on 'We Cut Off Your Johnson, Lebowski'"
UPDATED, JULY 12, 9:54 A.M.: The Garden Grove Police Department has released this booking photo of Catherine Kieu Becker, 48.
She is accused of lacing her
51 60-year-old husband's dinner with drugs or poison to knock him out, tying him to his bed, slicing off his penis, tossing it into the garbage disposal and flipping the "on" switch.
He's in serious condition following emergency surgery at UCI Medical Center in Orange.
ORIGINAL POST, JULY 12, 9 A.M.: Responding to a woman's 9-1-1 call of a medical emergency, Garden Grove police officers walked into the bedroom of condominium No. 21 at 14171 Flower St. just after 9 last night to discover a
51 60-year-old white guy bound to his bed with blood welled up around his crotch.
It wasn't a shaving accident.
The man's estranged wife allegedly laced his food to knock him out, tied him to the bed, sliced off his penis, dropped it in the garbage disposal . . . and flipped the "on" switch.
Catherine Kieu Becker, 48, was booked into Orange County Jail on charges of aggravated mayhem, false imprisonment, assault with a deadly weapon, administering a drug with intent to commit felony, poisoning and spousal abuse.
Police recovered rope and a bloody knife in the unit.
Here's the sad tale detectives were told: The Beckers are going through a divorce, but the wife had come over to the apartment to make the husband dinner. What he did not know was she had allegedly seasoned the meal with a drug or unknown poison. Not feeling well during dinner, he went to lie down.
He awoke to find himself tied up to the bed with his wife tugging his clothing off. This was not reconciliation, as she is alleged to have then gone at the Becker pecker with a knife. Upon removal, she is said to have tossed the schlong into the garbage disposal and turned the disposal to the "on" position.
The Mrs. then called 9-1-1, apparently mentioning that her husband "deserved" it.
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Responding cops and paramedics provided basic treatment before transporting the sad sack to UCI Medical Center in Orange. After emergency surgery, he was listed in serious condition.
"The wife is not giving any more statements and the victim went into surgery before detectives could get all of the details," reads a Garden Grove Police Department statement just issued.
Wonder how many husbands reading this are bringing their wives home flowers tonight?