Suspect ruled mentally incompetent in Solana Beach murder
A Los Angeles man accused of fatally beating his 60-year-old mother, possibly with a hammer, and mutilating her body in her Solana Beach home is mentally incompetent to stand trial, a judge ruled Monday.
Judge Frederick Maguire made the finding after reviewing a doctor’s evaluation of Bryan Chenhua Chang.
The judge ruled that the defendant did not understand the charges against him and couldn’t assist his attorney at trial.
Chang, 28, will be sent to Patton State Hospital until he regains his mental competency, said Deputy District Attorney Rachel Solov.
Sherry Chu Chang’s body was found Jan. 25 at her home on Santa Florencia, near San Elijo Lagoon. A co-worker went to the woman’s home when she failed to show up for work, then had deputies check the house.
The son was arrested at his home in Los Angeles two nights later. At Chang’s arraignment, Solov told Judge Joan Weber that the defendant cut off his mother’s right arm and part of her skull and put them in a refrigerator.
Solov said the mother and son may have had a disagreement over money.
Detectives said claw hammers may have been used in the killing. A large serrated knife was found in the sink.
Bloody fingerprints on blinds in the home led authorities to the defendant, Solov said.
If criminal proceedings are restored, Chang would face 26 years to life in prison if convicted, the prosecutor said.
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