A Lover's Quarrel (graphic content warning!)

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    http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/metropolitan/3275368

    Man testifies he blacked out when his penis was severed
    Woman's assault trial begins with testimony from injured ex-lover

    By ANDREW TILGHMAN
    Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle

    A man whose estranged lover is accused of severing his penis limped into a courtroom Wednesday with a medical bag strapped to his left leg and took a seat in the witness stand.

    Rene Aramando Nuñez, who had pleaded guilty to assaulting Delmy Ruiz and been ordered to stay away from her, told jurors he was sleeping in her bed when a sudden flash of pain woke him.

    "I felt something hot and then I passed out," Nuñez said calmly. "When I got to the hospital, I didn't have my private part."

    He said he blacked out after feeling the pain and does not remember the actual assault.

    His testimony came on the first day of trial for Ruiz, 49, who is accused of slicing off his penis with a knife at her north Harris County home on Oct. 28, 2004.

    Charged with aggravated assault, she faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

    "Mr. Nuñez, how much of your penis was gone?" prosecutor Mike Trent asked.

    "More than half," the native of El Salvador said through a court translator.

    Defense attorney Tom Radosevich told the six men and six women on the jury that Nuñez had abused Ruiz for years.

    "He raped her that day, and then something very bad happened," he said in his opening remarks. "You're going to have to listen for both sides of the story."

    The couple lived together for about four years at Ruiz's home in the 300 block of West Lorino, authorities said.

    Twice in 2003, Nuñez pleaded guilty to assaulting Ruiz. The terms of his probation, still in effect at the time he was cut, forbade any contact with her.

    A judge later sentenced him to 30 days in jail for violating his probation when he saw Ruiz that day.

    Nuñez told jurors he never assaulted Ruiz and pleaded guilty only to resolve his case and get out of jail. He admitted under cross-examination, however, that he had struck her and bruised her on one occasion.

    Ruiz's daughter, Jenny Ruiz, 22, testified that she was outside the home when she heard her mother screaming.

    She said she came in and saw Nuñez crouched over, bloody and begging for help.

    "My mom was, like, screaming loud and crying. She just looked hysterical," Jenny Ruiz said. "Rene told me he wanted me to take him to the hospital."

    She took Nuñez to Doctors Hospital on West Tidwell. Emergency room physicians urged sheriff's deputies to go to Ruiz's home and find the severed penis so they could reattach it.

    Several deputies searched but could not find it. Ruiz initially told deputies her dog took it.

    Nuñez showed jurors a large scar running the length of his forearm, from which doctors took a skin graft to help construct a new penis.

    A dining room table cloth taken from Ruiz's home showed a blood stain that "appeared to be the bloody outline of a severed penis," said Gary Clayton, a crime scene investigator with the Harris County Sheriff's Department.

    Prosecutors also showed jurors crime scene photos of a bed covered with blood.

    The only other sign of a struggle in the well-kept home was a television overturned on the bedroom floor, Clayton said.

    State District Judge Michael McSpadden warned jurors that they were going to see some graphic photos.

    Among them was one taken one week after the attack, showing what remained of Nuñez's penis with stitches across the end.

    Doctors expect to remove the catheter bag next week, Nuñez said.

    He and Ruiz met in their native El Salvador and she helped him find a job and a place to live when he arrived in Houston, Nuñez said.

    She owned a home and cleaned houses for a living, while he worked in a restaurant and at a food distribution company, he said.
     

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