A Garden Grove, Calif., woman convicted of cutting off her ex-husband's penis with a 10-inch kitchen knife, then throwing it in a garbage disposal, was sentenced Friday to life in prison with the possibility of parole in seven years.
Catherine Kieu, 50, was convicted in the July 2011 attack in which prosecutors said she drugged her ex-husband's meal with a sleep aid, then severed his penis with a knife after tying him to a bed. She then mutilated the penis by throwing it in the garbage disposal.
The victim was in court for Friday's sentencing.
"I'm hoping this will be the last time I ever have to see her," he said. "I felt some relief, and it was a very sad day for me."
Kieu was convicted in April of aggravated mayhem -- maliciously depriving a human of a body part -- and torture. Kieu has been in custody since the attack. She received a sentence of seven years to life in prison, meaning she will be eligible for parole in seven years.
"This was a horrible event," said John Christl, of the Orange County District Attorney's office. "In effect, the victim is going to be serving a life sentence because of what the defendant did to him. She, in turn, deserves her life sentence."
Kieu still resided at the man's Garden Grove residence at the time. She called 911 to report a medical emergency, and responding officers found the man tied to the bed, according to investigators.
The victim was hospitalized, but reconstructive surgery was not successful.
"I remember the event. It's not cohesive because of the shock, the trauma, the torture," he said. "There may be a situation where I can become happy. Whole? Never."
The judge in the case said during the sentencing phase that the "interest of justice" would not be served by granting probation.
"In my 24 years on the bench, I've seen a number of murder cases," said Judge Richard F. Toohey. "Her actions were as calculated, as cold, as callous as any murder in the first degree."
Prosecutors argued that Kieu refused to accept her husband's demand for a divorce and carried out the attack as part of a revenge plot. The attack occurred about two months after the husband filed for divorce.
"I don't think she wanted to get divorced -- that's what it came down to," said the victim, identified in court documents as Glen. "As far as the reason for it,she was adamant. Maybe this is her way."
The man made a victim's impact statement at Friday's sentencing during which he thanked prosecutors, investigators, doctors, friends and family. He said the couple had "issues," and that he did not want to force her out of the house because she was having financial problems.
"I never saw it coming -- not in a million years," he said. "She has betrayed my trust in people. My right to the pursuit of happiness has been robbed. She took that right from me that night.
"This was a cruel and calculated violation of a person's body and mind."
He told reporters outside the courtroom that he was hoping for a stronger sentence.
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