A 22-year-old man was charged Wednesday with torturing and killing his mother, who was visiting Los Angeles from Taiwan.
Chen Chao Ming faces one count of capital murder with the allegation that the killing involved torture as well as one count of animal cruelty, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.
About 8 p.m. Sunday, police found Ming's mother, Yi Tung Weng, dead in an apartment in the 1300 block of Figueroa Street in downtown L.A.
Ming tortured and hit his 46-year-old mother with a hammer before strangling her to death, detectives said. She died of asphyxiation.
At some point, prosecutors say, Ming tossed his cat out the window.
The scene in the downtown apartment left investigators "traumatized," Los Angeles Police Department Officer Jack Richter said.
"We've seen quite a bit of inhumanity. This was really quite shocking to police officers," Richter said.
Ming is scheduled to be arraigned Feb. 25 and is being held without bail. Prosecutors have not decided whether to seek the death penalty.
Police are continuing to investigate the incident. Anyone with information is asked to call the LAPD's Central Division homicide unit at (213) 833-3750.