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Woman testifies she cut off husband's penis after rape

MANASSAS, Va. -- A manicurist tearfully told jurors Monday that she cut off her husband's penis because he had raped her, using a knife she found in the kitchen.

Lorena Bobbitt, 24, broke down and wept three times as she testified for two hours in the trial of her husband, John Wayne Bobbitt, 26, who has pleaded innocent to a felony charge of marital sexual assault.

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Bobbitt said after her husband raped her, she went to the refrigerator for some water and in the light from the open door saw a filet knife.

'I took the knife (and) I went to the bedroom,' she said. 'I pulled the sheets off him.'

Bobbitt paused, weeping, as Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Mary Grace O'Brien asked: 'And what?'

'And I cut him,' the woman replied. The organ was successfully reattached in a 9 -hour operation.

Earlier Monday, lawyers spent about 90 minutes choosing a jury of nine women and three men from among 30 candidates in Prince William County Circuit Court in Northern Virginia. The case is being heard before Judge Leroy Milette Jr.

Lorena Bobbitt faces her own trial Nov. 29 on a charge of malicious wounding. If convicted, both Bobbitts could face up to 20 years in prison.

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'This is a tale of a tormented woman,' Commonwealth's Attorney Paul B. Ebert said in his opening statement. He said John Bobbitt had raped his wife on their fourth anniversary June 18. He said they had consensual sex June 20 before Bobbitt raped his wife June 23, the night of the cutting.

But George Murphy, John Bobbitt's defense lawyer, said Lorena Bobbitt was jealous of her husband and concocted the rape story.

'Her motive in alleging rape is the relationship,' he said.

Murphy also said Bobbitt's wife contacted an entertainment lawyer 10 days after the cutting in an effort to seek publicity.

Lorena Babbitt, who is 5-foot-2 and 95 pounds, is a native of Ecuador and grew up in Venezuela. She came to the United States in 1987.

On the night of June 23, she testified, she was asleep when her husband came home and began to rape her.

'He opened my legs, I tried to close them, and then we had intercourse,' she said.

She testified she told her husband: 'How could you do this to me again and again and again?' and then went to the refrigerator.

In his cross-examination, Murphy pointed to inconsistencies in Bobbitt's testimony. Bobbitt testified she had visited a physician the Friday before the alleged rape for treatment of a yeast infection. She said Dr. Patricia Inman counseled her about rape, but Inman testified the topic of rape never came up.

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Inman also said while the initial call was about a yeast infection, she actually treated Bobbitt for hyperventilation and quaking hands.

Murphy said the night of the cutting, John Bobbitt went drinking with a friend for three hours and then returned home and fell asleep. Sometime later he awoke, began caressing his wife, felt her touch him and then did not recall anything until he felt her pull on his penis and cut it.

Murphy described Bobbitt's reaction as a 'silent scream,' and said he saw his wife leave the bedroom. He said as she walked out she told him, 'This is supposed to be mutual. He always has an orgasm and never waits for me.'

Bobbitt has been living in Niagara Falls, N.Y., with his parents since the incident. Lorena Bobbitt is living in Fairfax, Va.

A divorce suit Lorena Bobbitt filed July 9 is pending. The couple had agreed to separate before the cutting.

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