An Orange County woman pleaded not guilty Friday to cutting off her estranged husband’s penis and throwing it in a garbage disposal.
Catherine Kieu, 48, entered her plea in Orange County Superior Court Friday on charges of torture and aggravated mayhem. She also faces sentencing enhancement allegations of inflicting great bodily harm and use of a dangerous or deadly weapon.
The sentence did not include an insanity plea, which Senior Deputy District Attorney John Christl said he doesn't anticipate the defense employing.
"At this time I don't believe they will, but they always can," said Christl.
Her bail remained at $1 million, and she was served with a protective order.
While Kieu currently remains in prison, if she posts bail the protective order prevents her from seeing or going near her ex-husband.
"It prohibits any type of contact or her going within a certain number of yards of the victim," said Christl.
Kieu could be sentenced to life in prison without parole, if convicted.
The next pretrial hearing is scheduled for Nov. 4 and the preliminary hearing is scheduled for Jan. 12, said Christl.
Kieu allegedly cut off her 60-year-old husband's penis after the two had an argument about friends staying at his Garden Grove residence.
The man told police that he did not feel well after eating a meal that Kieu had prepared for him. He went to lie down. When he awoke, he found his arms and legs were bound to each corner of the bed. Kieu pulled off his pants and used a 10-inch kitchen knife to remove the penis, according to authorities.
She then threw the penis in a garbage disposal and turned on the disposal, police said.
The husband started divorce proceedings about six months ago, according to police, but he agreed to allow Kieu to stay at his residence because she had nowhere else to go.
Kieu was arrested on July 11 and made her first court appearance July 13, but did not enter a plea. Her arraignment was postponed on July 22 by an OC Superior Court judge who set her bail at $1 million.