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Mental Evaluation for Woman Cut Husband's Penis

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By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. on July 15, 2011 6:50 AM

A court has ordered Catherine Kieu Becker to get a mental evaluation. The facts in Becker's case are violent: the woman cut her husband's penis off. Then she put the severed organ down the garbage disposal and turned it on.

The facts are both painful and grisly. And, they are probably what spurred a court to order Catherine Kieu Becker's mental health evaluation.

Generally, mental health evaluations are standard for accused criminals like Becker, given the nature of the crimes she is accused of committing, says Orange County sheriff's spokesman Jim Amormino to the Los Angeles Times.

Becker has been charged with a felony count of torture and aggravated mayhem, reports the Los Angeles Times. And, the charges have been enhanced with aggravating factors for great bodily injury and personal use of a knife. She could face life in prison if she is convicted on all counts.

Becker allegedly drugged her husband, a real-estate broker, through his dinner. He woke up with Becker tying him to the bed and slicing off his penis, the Los Angeles Times reports.

She had originally told police that her husband "deserved it," but now reports are surfacing that the two had argued earlier in the day and that the Becker was angry about an "inappropriate relationship." The couple was in the process of a divorce.

The mental health evaluation might come into play in a variety of ways. For one, if Becker is found incompetent, she would not be able to stand trial. A defendant is incompetent if they are unable to understand the charges against them or to assist in their own defense.

Or, a mental health evaluation may bolster an insanity defense, which could potentially be a defense against a crime. It's still too early to predict what might develop, though.

As for Becker's husband, his penis could not be reattached despite surgery, reports USA Today. But there are medical options in these situations.

Catherine Kieu Becker's mental evaluation will likely only be the beginning of whatever criminal proceeding she may face. And, the findings of the psychologist may be interesting by itself - it's not every day a woman cuts off her husband's penis.

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