Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Crimes Below the Belt: Penile Removal and Castration

Courtroom Drama

Lorena Bobbitt after release
Lorena Bobbitt after release

During a week and half of testimony, America listened as John and Lorena revealed details of their volatile relationship and the events leading up to and including the severing of John's penis. While on the stand, Lorena said that John frequently abused her physically by kicking her, choking her and repeatedly raping her. She testified that she was also emotionally abused when John flaunted a list of women with whom he allegedly had affairs and forced her to abort their child.

Other witnesses provided supporting testimony, saying that they had seen the results of Lorena's abuse, such as bruises and cuts on her body. Even John's friends said that he often bragged "about how he liked to force Lorena to have sex and how he controlled and dominated her," Pershing reported. The defense suggested it was only a matter of time before Lorena snapped. At the time of the wounding, psychologists claimed that she was suffering from clinical depression and possibly posttraumatic stress disorder.

John flatly denied any form of abuse, either emotional or physical. However, when he was cross-examined, his story often conflicted with known facts. This severely weakened the prosecution's case.

Video cover: Bobbitt Uncut
Video cover: Bobbitt Uncut

The jury found Lorena to be more credible. After seven hours of deliberation, the jury found Lorena "not guilty" due to temporary insanity. The judge ordered Lorena to undergo a 45-day evaluation period at a mental hospital after which she would be released.

Not surprisingly, the couple eventually divorced. John went on to star in two pornographic movies. He then moved to Nevada where he worked as a bartender, limo driver, mover and tow truck operator. He was even a minister of a Las Vegas Church.

John also managed to wrack up a considerable criminal record. Tanith Carey reported for The Mirror that, "he was arrested seven times for offenses ranging from assault to grand larceny." Some of the charges included domestic violence, such as when he allegedly beat his ex-fiancée, Kristina Elliott, and punched his third wife, Joanne Ferrell, on two occasions. To date, John continues to live in Nevada where he is trying to eke out a new life and stay out of trouble.

John Wayne Bobbitt
John Wayne Bobbitt

After the trial, Lorena was treated as a feminist hero. She tried to keep a low profile and stay out of the limelight but in 1998 she was arrested for punching her mother, South Coast Today reported in a 1998 article. It is not known if she served any time but if she did, it was likely brief.

After all that has been said and done, the mere mention of Lorena's name continues to raise eyebrows, evoke chuckles and make men protectively cross their legs. It was a case that made many men think twice about inflicting abuse on their spouse. Unfortunately, not everyone got the message.

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