Judge: Man accused of killing mother mentally competent for trial
SAN DIEGO (CNS) – A man accused of beating his mother to death in her
Solana Beach home because she had decided to stop supporting him financially is
mentally competent to stand trial, a judge ruled Wednesday.
Bryan Chang, 31, is charged with murder and special circumstance
allegations of torture and murder for financial gain in the January 2010
slaying of 60-year-old Sherry Chu Chang.
After a reviewing a doctor's report, Superior Court Judge Joseph
Brannigan reinstated criminal proceedings against Chang, finding that the
defendant understands the charges against him and can assist his attorney at
The victim's body was found Jan. 25, 2010, at her home on Santa
Florencia near San Elijo Lagoon after she didn't show up for work. The
defendant was arrested at his home in Los Angeles two nights later.
Sherry Chu Chang suffered 75 separate wounds, including blows to her
arm, back and scalp, delivered by either a claw hammer, baseball bat or some
other blunt force instrument, according to previous court testimony.
At a preliminary hearing last November, defense attorney Kathleen Cannon
said her client smashed his mother's skull, then cut up her body, putting an
arm and some broken bones in the refrigerator.
“This is just crazy,” Cannon told a judge at that hearing.
In an email, the defendant told his mother, “It's no joke mom, I'm
Despite her decision to cut her son off financially, the victim was
always there for her son, and in fact, was in Los Angeles the day before she
was killed to buy him a car, Cannon said.
But prosecutor Rachel Solov said the victim had made changes to her
accounts so that her son couldn't get access to them through credit cards or
Her credit card was used after she was slain, and $2,000 was taken from
her purse, according to testimony at the preliminary hearing.
Vista Superior Court Judge Aaron Katz said at the conclusion of the
preliminary hearing that the defendant was “upset and angered” by his
mother's decision to change the way she supported him financially and hit her
with blows designed to inflict “extreme pain.”
A readiness conference is set for Oct. 2 in Vista and trial is scheduled
for Oct. 24.