LOS ANGELES A California woman was charged with torture on Wednesday after authorities said she cut off her husband's penis with a kitchen knife and ground it up in a garbage disposal.
Catherine Kieu, 48, is accused of tying her sleeping husband to a bed with nylon ropes, pulling down his pants and slicing off his penis, the Orange County District Attorney's Office said in a written statement.
The Garden Grove woman then took the severed penis into the kitchen, threw it into the garbage disposal and turned it on, mutilating the organ, Orange County prosecutors said.
She then called 911, they said.
Kieu, who was taken into custody at the scene on Monday night, was charged with one count each of torture and aggravated mayhem, with sentencing enhancements for causing great bodily injury and using a knife.
During a brief court appearance on Wednesday, an Orange County Superior Court judge assigned a public defender to represent Kieu and postponed her arraignment on the charges until July 22.
Kieu, who is being held without bail, faces a maximum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted.
Orange County prosecutors say the incident followed an argument between Kieu and her 60-year-old husband, who has not been identified by authorities, over friends staying at the residence.
Garden Grove police say Kieu, who was initially identified as Catherine Kieu Becker, told officers who responded to the 911 call and found her husband tied to the bed and bleeding from the groin that he "deserved it."
Police have also said she may have drugged or poisoned her husband's food to make him sleepy and that the couple, who married in late 2009, was involved in divorce proceedings.
Kieu's husband was taken to the nearby University of California, Irvine Medical Center following the attack, where he underwent emergency surgery and was listed in serious condition.
(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Cynthia Johnston)