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John Wayne Bobbitt spars with his wife's attorneys

By
YVONNE FRENCH

MANASSAS, Va. -- John Wayne Bobbitt took the witness stand again Tuesday and sparred with defense attorneys trying to bolster his wife's contention that his repeated abuse drove her to hack off his penis with a kitchen knife.

Lorena Bobbitt admits she severed her husband's penis in the early morning hours of June 23, but says she struck back after he raped her. The 24-year-old manicurist is being tried on a charge of malicious wounding in Prince William County Court in Manassas, about 30 miles west of Washington.

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Her attorneys are trying to have her acquitted on the grounds that she suffered a temporary 'psychotic break' due to her husband's abuse.

John Bobbitt, whose penis was surgically reattached, testified against his wife Monday and was recalled by the defense Tuesday as a hostile witness. Defense attorney Blair Howard grilled Bobbitt on allegations that he had abused Lorena during their stormy marriage.

Later Tuesday, the defense called 10 witnesses who testified to Bobbitt's abusive behavior toward his wife.

Bobbitt, 26, an ex-Marine who last worked as a bar bouncer, denied he had abused his wife but admitted he would 'sometimes hold her down' when their arguments became explosive.

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Howard maintained Bobbitt had told four friends he liked to 'hit women in the behind, make them scream, make them bleed and make them crawl.'

Johnathan Kaopu, of Stafford, Va., Bobbitt's friend, testified Bobbitt told him he 'liked to have forced sex because it turned him on. '

The attorney also said Bobbitt had pleaded guilty to an assault charge filed by his wife, which Bobbitt insisted was not true.

'I never pleaded guilty to nothing,' Bobbitt said.

Prince William County police officer Gary Bodmer, however, testified later that Bobbitt pleaded guilty to the charge relating to a Feb. 21, 1991 incident in which Lorena sustained injuries to her elbow, lip and foot. Bodmer said the conviction was never recorded, and Bobbitt's was cleared in six months.

He also denied Howard's contention that he had assaulted his wife in a fit of jealousy after some men whistled at her and another woman on the beach at Ocean City, Md.

Defense witness Terri McCumber, however, testified that the incident did happen, and that on other occasions she had seen evidence of abuse by Bobbitt toward his wife.

'I've seen many a bruise on the inside of her legs and backs of her arms,' McCumber said.

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Bobbitt admitted that on Thanksgiving Day in 1990 he struck his wife with a car door when she tried to open it as he backed out of a driveway.

'As I backed up she opened the door. I backed up and she fell down. I pulled forward, closed the door' and drove off across a neighbor's lawn, he said.

He also said he would sometimes have to physically restrain his petite wife -- her attorneys say she weighed 92 pounds when she cut her husband -- when she became angry.

'Sometimes I'd hold her down because she got so angry. She jumped on my back (in one instance). Walking away was the method I used to handle conflict,' Bobbitt said. 'I would push her away, fend her off, sometimes hold her down.'

Earlier Tuesday, the seven-woman, five-man jury was shown graphic photos of Bobbitt's severed penis, the stump on his torso, and the reattached organ.

Dr. James Sehn, the urologist who reattached the penis in a 9 -hour operation, testified, 'It was a complete amputation of the penis.'

'It was no more than a red clot of blood where the penis should have been,' Sehn said.

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A longtime friend of John Bobbitt testified that he was staying in the couple's apartment when the incident occurred and that he took the bleeding husband to a hospital.

Robert Johnson said when John Bobbitt woke him to ask for help, 'he was naked, his hand was covering his groin area, and I saw blood.'

Also testifying for the prosecution were five Prince William County police officers, who recounted finding the red-handled knife used to sever the penis and retrieving the severed organ, which Lorena Bobbitt tossed from her car window after driving away from the couple's apartment. She later telephoned police and told them what she had done and where to find the penis.

One of the officers, Peter Wientz, testified at length about his interview with Lorena Bobbitt after the incident. Wientz read a transcript of Lorena's statement, in which she said her husband had raped her: ''He jumped on top of me, he was naked....He's so heavy for me....His shoulder was pushing in my mouth, I tried to scream. He stuck his tongue in my mouth so low that I wanted to throw up.''

About 20 people are left to testify for the defense, including Lorena Bobbitt, who is expected to testify Wednesday.

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If convicted, Lorena Bobbitt could be sentenced to a maximum 20 years in prison.

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