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Catherine Kieu Becker May Have Poisoned Husband's Tofu Soup

Catherine Kieu Becker

First Posted: 07/22/11 01:46 PM ET Updated: 09/21/11 06:12 AM ET

Updated story.

Southern California woman Catherine Kieu Becker, accused of severing her husband's penis, was scheduled to appear in court this morning to face charges of torture and aggravated mayhem. Her arraignment, however, has been postponed, reports the CBS Los Angeles.

The Associated Press has more:

Orange County Superior Court Judge Debra Carrillo on Friday rescheduled Catherine Kieu's arraignment to Sept. 23 and set bail at $1 million.

Kieu, 48, is charged with torture and aggravated mayhem, with sentencing enhancements for great bodily injury and use of a knife. If convicted of all counts, she could face life in prison without parole.

Kieu appeared in court briefly Friday in a blue jail jumpsuit, with chains rattling as she walked. Her long dark hair blocked portions of her face, and she answered Carrillo's questions through a Vietnamese-language interpreter.

Frank Bittar, Kieu's attorney, declined to comment on the allegations, except to say "there's a lot there, to the case – more than meets the eye."

During the hearing, Bittar asked Carrillo to ban the media from photographing or filming Kieu to ensure her safety in jail and avoid creating a biased jury pool. Senior Deputy District Attorney John Christl opposed the request and the judge denied it.

In early July, Catherine Kieu Becker of Garden Grove allegedly poisoned her estranged husband's food to make him drowsy. Officials say she then tied him to the bed, cut off his penis with a 10-inch kitchen knife, and ran the severed member through the garbage disposable. Lt. Jeff. Nightengale told the HuffPost that when officers responded to the emergency call placed by Becker, they found the victim bleeding profusely from the groin. Pieces of the severed member were recovered from the crime and transported with the victim to the hospital.

Becker may have poisoned some tofu soup in order to knock him out, reports the LA Times.

Before the incident, the couple had argued over houseguests saying at their condo, which could have led to the attack, reports the Associated Press.

The victim, whose name has not been released, was treated at the University of California at Irvine Medical Center. He underwent surgery and was listed in "good" condition as of July 14, said a hospital spokesperson to the Associated Press. There is no word on whether the surgery attempted to reattach the severed penis.

The couple had married in 2009 but the husband had filed for divorce in May 2011.

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Filed by Anna Almendrala  |