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There was a time when Bryan felt that his father and mother were his only friends.

Sherry paid all expenses for her son. She provided the apartment at 1628 South Westgate Avenue, a nice address, only four miles from the beaches of Santa Monica.

The manager at the Westgate apartments later spoke with investigators. She told them she’d witnessed a loud fight between Sherry and Bryan. The manager heard Bryan yell at his mom, “It’s all your fault I’m this way!”

Bryan Chang

Sherry sold her business

Sherry sold her finance-and-accounting business, PSS West, to a company named WASSCO, which sold industrial supplies; they did especially well with sales to governments — local, state, federal, even foreign governments. Under the terms of the sale, Sherry would receive $8300 per month for three years, a total payout of more than $300,000. An accountant hired to help Sherry prepare her taxes said that, in the event of her death, the beneficiary of any remaining amount due would go to her son, Bryan.

After the sale of her business, Sherry moved from Los Angeles to San Diego County. She continued to work, now for WASSCO; her position was comptroller and vice president in charge of finance. WASSCO had a branch in Poway, and Sherry went to work every day at 12778 Bookprinter Place, commuting from a nice, new home on the coast, 20 miles away.

The million-dollar house was in Solana Beach, a two-story on high ground overlooking her neighbors and with sweeping views of the ocean and coastline. Later, investigators found that the home was listed as belonging to “Bryan C. Chang.” It’s unclear whether Bryan was aware of this before his mother’s death.

Investigators also found a savings account in Bryan Chang’s name, at United Commercial Bank, into which Sherry had deposited $130,000.

Bryan needs a new car

Bryan had a credit card and a cell phone provided by his mother. Sherry also bought him a shiny black Lexus to drive around Los Angeles; she had a matching black Lexus at her home in Solana Beach.

Even with everything she’d given him, Bryan tested the generosity of his mother.

The summer of 2008, Sherry sent an email to her son: “Do you still have the phone or you threw it away? I left you so many messages and never got responses. What do you mean to have a new phone? Please clarify for me and let me know. Mom”

Bryan replied within minutes: “I don’t have the phone anymore, so I will need a new one. Thanks, and sorry for the inconvenience.”

Sherry sent an unsigned email the next day: “Hi Bryan, You dumped the car in an open parking lot. It cost me a lot of money, grief and energy to tow the car back home…then you expect me to drive the car up to your place and find a way back home at your convenience. You threw a perfect cell phone away and expect me to go through the trouble to buy you another one and deliver to you…. You can be whoever you want to be and do whatever you want to do. Please do not abuse me anymore. My heart has broken to pieces and my life has ruined. I got nothing left.”

Bryan was undiscouraged, again replying in minutes: “Hi Mom, You can drive your car up, and we can drive back down to San Diego together…. All I need is a car and a phone again. I have said before that I literally lost my mind about a month ago…. It tells you just how far gone I was that I abandoned the car and phone. It’s no joke, Mom — I was insane, in severe distress and pain (both physical and mental) and I am still recovering. I’m sorry for all the inconvenience and money it costs you, but please try to understand that I was not in a normal state of mind when it all occurred. At some points, I felt like I was fighting for my life.…Please help me get back on my feet again, after this last month of hell (which was the absolute worst of my life). Thank you. Love, Bryan”

His mother wrote back: “You need to help yourself by not doing drugs and dealing with devils/evils. Words are cheap. [NB: Sherry bold-faced those three words.] Go get a job and live a simply and solid life so you will never need to have a light on to sleep.”

Bryan did not get a job. But significant changes were coming.

No more love from Bryan

In December 2009, Bryan emailed his mother to share his newest artistic goal: “Hi Mom…. Right now, I am planning to apply to the Los Angeles Recording School.…I hope we can work together as a team like we did in the old days.…Thanks for your help. Sincerely, Bryan”

The sign-off from Bryan expressing “love” was gone. Soon his “sincerity” would disappear, too.

Sherry wrote her son the next day: “I am hoping sometime next year you will be able to be independent….”

As it turned out, Bryan did become independent in the new year, but not by getting a job.

Three weeks after receiving Sherry’s note, Bryan emailed to ask for “access to your Lexus as my temporary vehicle.” That was in early January 2010.

But mom had become wary. Only a few hours earlier she’d sent him a message: “I can’t be responsible for driving my car to commit whatever the crime.”

Bryan wrote: “I really need a car right now, because I’m busy promoting materials for my upcoming ‘Hate Me When I’m Young’ World Tour…right now I need a car as my highest priority….”

Sherry’s response: “Did you dump this car somewhere like last time you dumped in San Diego airport? I know you can’t sell because I am the registered owner…. I thought you said the car got stolen and you filed a police report. I need to know the absolute truth. Help me Bryan. Let me have a peace in my life and knowing you are all right and I am too. Also your account in Regents was overdrawn last night. In recent two days, you withdraw $2200 in cash. I can’t make money that fast. I will just let your check bounce next time if you have excessive withdrawal…. You need to find a way to partially support yourself or at least control your spending.”

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Gekko4321 May 22, 2013 @ 10:57 a.m.

I hope he gets the death penalty. What a horrible human being.


Joaquin_de_la_Mesa May 22, 2013 @ 7:20 p.m.

Yes, but how much of a part did mom play in making him such a horrible human being. Clearly, there was no tough love there.


photog921 May 22, 2013 @ 8:38 p.m.

The son probably was not getting the focused, sustained mental health support he needed. Therapy, medication, etc. If he was schizophrenic - and it's not uncommon to be diagnosed at exactly that age - he should have our sympathy and not society's condemnation. For families who are experiencing this kind of challenge, there should be more resources.


Eva Knott Nov. 6, 2013 @ 1:26 p.m.

Bryan Chang, now 33, appeared in court today November 6, 2013. Although Chang has had many mental health evaluations during the years he has been in custody, today Superior Court Judge Aaron Katz ordered one more psychologist to meet with the defendant. Forensic expert Dr. Judith Meyers, Psy.D., will be required to video-record her interview with Chang, the judge said today, per request of both attorneys. Chang's next court appearance is set for January 8, 2014, nearly four years since his mother's body was found in her Solana Beach home.


Eva Knott Aug. 15, 2014 @ 1:14 p.m.

After a hearing this morning, August 15, defense attorney Kathleen Cannon said that she hopes to begin jury selection for trial in October or November of 2014. She said the trial is expected to last one month, and that would include both parts: presentation of evidence to decide guilt or innocence and then the sanity phase. "We're shooting for this year," the defender said. If the trial is delayed into year 2015, that will make five years since the body of Sherry Chang was found in her own home.


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