Police yesterday charged a 30-year-old District man with the murder of his mother, who was found strangled in their Northwest apartment early yesterday, according to police.
Charles B. Bowen, who was said to be a veteran of combat service in Vietnam, was charged with second-degree murder in the death of his mother, Adeline B. Oates, 52. Superior Court records show that Bowen was a patient at St. Elizabeth Hospital for two or three months in 1974.
Police were summoned to the apartment shared by mother and son shortly after 5 a.m. yesterday after other residents heard noises growing out of an altercation. Mrs. Oates and Bowen lived at the Winchester-underwood apartments at 6445 Luzon Ave. NW.
Police investigators said they had determined that an altercation had occurred, but declined to say whether they had learned what started it. They added, however, that Bowen apparently had beaten his mother with a weapon whose nature they had not determined.
Dr. Leroy Reddick, of the D.C. Medical Examiner's Office, said that Mrs. Oates had been strangled, and that she also had suffered multiple "blunt force" and "sharp force" injuries. He declined to elaborate on the nature of these injuries.
Bowen appeared later in the day before Superior Court Judge Donald S. Smith, who ordered that he be held for psyciatric examination. Smith set another hearing in the case for Friday.
Ray Richardson, a maintenance engineer at the apartment building, said that Bowen had served in Vietnam during the war there, although he was not certain in which branch of the service he was.
Richardson told a reporter that the switchboard operator on duty noticed Bowen entering the building at about 1 a.m. yesterday. At about 4 a.m., Richardson said, several residents heard "loud noises" emanating from the Bowen-Oates apartment.
When the noises continued, police were summoned and arrived at the building. Richardson said he saw them take Bowen into custody inside the apartment.
"He cut her up, he disfigured her," Richardson told a reporter. "Blood was splattered all over the bedroom." He added that it apperaed that Mrs. Oates's hands and ears had been badly cut.
Richardson said that he had known both mother and son since they had moved into the apartment building about eight years ago.
"She was a beautiful, nice, hardworking woman," he said. "She did nothing but work and go to church."
Police said that Bowen is unemployed. Richardson told a reporter that Mrs. Oates was a maid who at times worked two jobs, and that she often told him that she did not want to go into her apartment while her son was there.
"A lot of times she would come to my apartment and stay until Mrs. Brown (a neighbor) came home or until Bowen would call her up and ask her to cook dinner for him," Richardson said.
Richardson said he had heard Mrs. Oates speak of getting her own apartment during the past two weeks, but apparently had done nothing to arrange a move.