A Los Angeles man accused of beating his mother to death in her million-dollar Solana Beach home more than four years ago is set to go on trial this month.
Potential jurors are expected to begin filling out questionnaires this Friday, August 15, for the murder trial of 32-year-old Brian Chang. (Recently the spelling of the defendant’s name has changed from Bryan Chenhua Chang.)
Private defense counsel Kathleen Cannon pleaded not-guilty-by-reason-of-insanity on behalf of the defendant, who has undergone numerous mental competency hearings since his arrest in January 2010.
Although prosecutor Rachel Solov has charged two special circumstances in the case, murder for financial gain and torture, she announced in March 2013 that she would not be seeking the death penalty. The “special circumstances” charges could mean life in prison without possibility of parole, if the defendant is ultimately convicted and then found sane, in the upcoming two-part trial.
Sherry Chu Chang, 60, was found beaten to death and partially dismembered in her own home, after coworkers called deputies when she did not show up for work. Evidence of defensive wounds on the woman and the number of injuries revealed in autopsy may have led to the torture charges.
At a preliminary hearing in 2012, the prosecutor produced evidence suggesting that Sherry was financially supporting her adult son, but had become disillusioned by his bad behavior and suspected drug use, and she was threatening to cut him off.
Honorable Judge Harry Elias will preside over this trial in San Diego’s North County Superior Courthouse.