MANASSAS, VA — In a case that captivated the nation and spawned a thousand bad sex puns, on January 10, 1994, Lorena Bobbitt went on trial in Virginia for slicing her then-husband John Bobbitt’s penis off with a kitchen knife.
Surgeons were able to surgically re-attach John’s penis, and on January 22, the 24-year-old manicurist was acquitted and found not liable for her actions after pleading temporary insanity.
Lorena claimed that she had been the victim of domestic violence during her four-year marriage. She said that on the night of June 23, 1993, her husband John, a 200-pound ex-Marine and bar bouncer, raped her. After he fell asleep, she said she went into the kitchen, grabbed a knife, and sliced off her husband’s member.
Lorena then drove away in her car, taking the penis with her in a panic. As she drove, she rolled down the car window and threw the severed organ into a field. She stopped and called 911, and the penis was able to be found and re-attached in a nine-and-a-half hour operation.
During the trial, Lorena stated that John sexually, physically, and emotionally abused her during their marriage, and her attorney called her the “classic battered woman.” She claimed that he had numerous affairs, and had even forced her to have an abortion.
Her attorneys maintained that John’s abuse caused her to “snap,” and that she was suffering from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. Both the prosecution and defense sides conceded that he had demonstrated a history of abuse toward her, but he was later acquitted of the rape.
After seven hours of deliberation, the jury found Lorena not guilty due to insanity causing an “irresistible impulse” to sexually wound John. She was ordered to undergo a 45-day evaluation period at a state hospital, and then released.In 1995, after six years of marriage, John and Lorena divorced.
John attempted to cash in on his name recognition several times — first by forming a band, the Severed Parts, and then by appearing in adult films John Wayne Bobbitt: Uncut and Frankenpenis.
He moved to Las Vegas, and has worked at occupations including bartender, limo driver, mover, pizza-delivery driver, tow-truck operator — and a short stint as a minister at a wedding chapel.
He made dozens of television appearances, and became a regular on Howard Stern — who actually paid for Bobbitt’s penis enlargement surgery.
In 1994, he was convicted of battery and sentenced to 15 days in jail for allegedly striking Kristina Elliott, his 21-year-old fiancée. In 1999, Bobbitt received probation for his role in a theft at a store in Nevada.
He went on to marry two other women — a businesswoman in 2001 to whom he was wed for just 23 days, and Joanna Ferrell in 2002, whom he was also accused of assaulting. The marriage ended after two years.
After the trial, Lorena reverted to the use of her maiden name, Gallo, and began working in a beauty salon. In December 1997, she was charged with assault for punching her mother, Alvia Gallo, as they watched television, but was eventually found not guilty.
She remarried, and founded Lorena’s Red Wagon, a nonprofit organization that helps victims of domestic violence.
In 2015, Lorena told Steve Harvey that she had been “young” and “naive” when she came to America from Venezuela as an 18-year-old, and soon became involved with an abusive relationship with John. Lorena also discussed the night of the incident. “I took a glass of water and found myself in the street with a penis in one hand and a knife in the other,” she said.
She added that her ordeal had a positive silver lining because “we shined the light on domestic violence.”
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Main photo: Lorena Bobbit [Steve Harvey/YouTube (screenshot)]