Crime

Man accused of killing wife, her parents after torso found in dumpster

Samuel Haskell, 35, was charged with three counts of murder and could face life in prison if convicted.

A combination photo of Mei Haskell, left, and her parents, Yanxiang Wang and Gaoshan Li.
Los Angeles Police Department via AP
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The son of a former Hollywood agent has been charged with the murders of his wife and her parents following the grisly discovery of a torso in a Los Angeles dumpster.

Samuel Bond Haskell, 35, is facing three counts of murder, with special circumstances for multiple murders, for allegedly killing his wife and in-laws, then stuffing dismembered body parts into a trash bag, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said in a statement.

At his initial court appearance with his attorney Joseph Gutierrez, Haskell stood in front of the judge dressed in a safety smock with his tattooed arms bound by handcuffs in front of him. Haskell’s arraignment was postponed, and he was ordered to be held without bail.

Haskell lived in the Tarzana neighborhood of the San Fernando Valley with his wife, 37-year-old Mei Li Haskell and their three young children, along with Mei Li’s parents, Gaoshan Li, 72, and Yanxiang Wang, 64, who were last seen on or about Nov. 6, according to police.

The news of his arrest came shortly after a human torso was found in a bag inside a dumpster. While an official autopsy has not yet confirmed the identification of the remains, police believe it to be the body of Haskell’s wife Mei.

“We suspect that the torso … is the body of Mei Haskell,” Deputy District Attorney Beth Silverman said Monday. “No other bags containing body parts or remains have been recovered to date but I don’t need a body to charge a murder.”

“On Nov. 7, Haskell allegedly hired four day-laborers to take away several heavy black plastic trash bags from his home in Tarzana,” the statement said. ”One of the laborers opened one of the bags and allegedly observed human body parts. They called 911 and reported the incident.”

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They returned the bags and money, but the bags weren’t there when police arrived, authorities have said.

The same day, Haskell was caught on video taking a large bag out of his trunk and dumping it into the dumpster where authorities found the dismembered body. He was arrested the next day after someone rummaging through trash in that dumpster found a woman’s torso in a trash bag and called 911, prosecutors said.

“There were items of evidence in the house that indicated he dismembered the bodies,” Silverman said.

Haskell is the son of Sam Haskell III, a celebrity agent and Emmy-winning producer who was named “One of the 25 Most Innovative and Influential People in Television of the Last 25 Years” in 2007 by Television Week Magazine.

Haskell could face life in prison without the chance of parole if convicted.

“These shocking and gruesome crimes have sent shockwaves through our community. We stand with the victims’ loved ones during this unimaginably difficult time and will do everything in our power to ensure justice is served,” District Attorney George Gascón said. “Our Major Crimes Division will work tirelessly to bring about a prosecution that reflects the severity of this devastating crime.”

This story was originally published by Beth Hemphill at courttv.com.