A US teenager has been accused of bludgeoning his mother to death with a hammer before texting a picture of the gruesome murder scene to a friend.

Andrew Zaragoza, 16, was charged with first and second degree murder in connection with the death of Donna Zaragoza last Thursday (20 July).

The 56-year-old's body was found in the family home in Bel Air, Maryland.

Police say her son – a high-school student – beat her with a hammer and stabbed her in the chest and back.

When officers arrived to the scene at around 6.30am Thursday, Andrew was allegedly found in a locked bedroom, having stabbed himself and drunk bleach in an apparent bid to take his own life.

He was taken to hospital where he was treated for non life-threatening injuries.

When he was taken into custody, he allegedly told police: "My mom was taking pills this morning, she hit me and I killed her."

A hammer and a bloody kitchen knife were found in the house, officers say, along with a suicide note in which he explained his mother's murder and revealed plans to kill himself.

Andrew is also said to have texted photographs of his mother's bloodied corpse to a friend after the killing.

The teen has been charged with first- and second-degree murder, first- and second-degree assault and use of dangerous weapon with intent to injure.

At his first court appearance, the teenager's lawyer said his client had suffered years of abuse.

"He is a victim of abuse throughout his life, mental abuse, emotional abuse and physical abuse," public defender Tim Bahr said, as reported by the Baltimore Sun.

Bahr added that his client has no prior criminal record and had grown up living around people who abused drugs.

He said the teenager's father and uncle had died of overdoses last year, and that his mother was taking pills and hit him on the morning he allegedly killed her.

Maj. William Davis, commander of the police operations bureau for the sheriff's office, separately revealed his deputies had been called to the home numerous times in the past, mainly for drug abuse, mental health and domestic issues.

Judge David Carey described the case as a "very tragic situation" and said he would hold Zaragoza without bond for his own and others' safety.