Catherine Kieu Becker, 48, made her initial court appearance in the afternoon, but did not enter a plea. Arraignment for Kieu, who is being held without bail, was rescheduled to July 22. She is also being charged with sentencing enhancements for great bodily injury and personal use of a knife.
If convicted on all counts, she faces a maximum sentence of life in state prison with the possibility of parole. Becker looked down at the floor as the judge read the charges filed against her.
Police said Becker drugged the 60-year-old man during dinner to make him sleepy, tied his arms and legs to a bed with a rope, removed his clothes and attacked him. The man woke up as she was cutting off his penis with a 10-inch knife.
Becker called 911 about 9 p.m.
"When the officers went in there, they found the husband tied to the bed and bleeding profusely from the groin area," Garden Grove police Lt. Jeff Nightengale said. "The officers immediately called for paramedics, untied the victim from the bed. The wife at that time made the spontaneous statement that he 'deserved it.'"
Becker was immediately arrested and her husband was taken to the hospital. Police say it's unlikely his penis can be reattached.
"After she had cut the penis off from his groin area, she took the portion of the penis and put it in the garbage disposal and turned the garbage disposal on," Nightengale said.
It's unclear what Becker's alleged motive was.
"The motive is not one of the elements of the crime," said Susan Kang Schrueder, a spokeswoman for the Orange County District Attorney's Office. "It's hard to believe what would motivate a person to do this sort of things. It's one of the worst things you can do to a person short of killing them."
Police said her husband had just filed divorce papers. Neighbors said the couple married last December, and nothing unusual was heard from his condo that night.
"No, nothing at all. No scream, nothing," said Lourdes Painter, who lives in the unit below the victim's.
Police said the crime was carefully planned out by Becker.
"It appears that the husband is the only one living there right now, and that the wife had come over, cooked dinner, and then this took place, so the actions lead us to believe that it was very premeditated," Nightengale.
The victim remains in stable condition at University of California at Irvine Medical Center in Orange.
City News Service contributed to this report.