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Son incompetent to stand trial for mother’s murder

SOLANA BEACH — A 28-year-old man accused of killing and dismembering his mother in January in her Solana Beach home is mentally incompetent to stand trial, a San Diego Superior Court judge ruled April 5.
After reviewing a physician’s evaluation of Bryan Chenhua Chang, Judge Frederick Maguire ordered that the defendant be sent to Patton State Hospital indefinitely; his competency to understand the charges against him will be re-evaluated periodically. The ruling suspends criminal proceedings in the interim; however, if he regains his competency, his criminal proceedings will continue.
Chang, of Los Angeles, is charged with one count each of first-degree murder and use of a deadly weapon, which in this case was a hammer, to murder and mutilate his mother, 60-year-old Sherry Chu Chang, whose body was found Jan. 25 in her home on Santa Florencia near San Elijo Lagoon.
A special-circumstance allegation of murder for financial gain is attached to the murder charge giving the district attorney the option of seeking the death penalty. A decision on that matter was not made prior to the April 5 order.
Chang, who had not worked for 18 months, was arrested two days after the murder in his Los Angeles home.
At his arraignment in January, prosecutors described the scene authorities encountered upon finding the Poway business owner’s hacked body.
“When deputies arrived they found her dead in a downstairs bathroom,” Deputy District Attorney Rachel Solov told the judge. Solov went on to describe the gruesome scene in detail.
Solov said the killing may have been linked to recent disputes about his mother’s continued support of Chang.
Following the murder, prosecutors believe the Carnegie Mellon graduate tried to use his mother’s credit card for a taxi ride back to Los Angeles.