A California woman who yelled, "You deserve it!" before slicing off her husband's penis with a kitchen knife will be protected from receiving a mayhem or torture conviction because of her traumatic childhood.

The trial began Wednesday for Catherine Kieu, who police say drugged her estranged husband's dinner and tied him to a bed before the attack, then put the severed body part in a garbage disposal, and turned it on.

Deputy Public Defender Frank Bittar tells the AP Kieu's severely traumatic childhood in war-torn Vietnam, including rape by her older brother, caused mental illness that bars her from a mayhem or torture conviction.

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