Sam Haskell pleads not guilty to killing, dismembering wife and in-laws

Posted at 8:09 PM, January 12, 2024

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Los Angeles man accused of killing his wife and her parents and then stuffing their dismembered body parts into trash bags pleaded not guilty Friday to murder.

Sam Haskell appears shirtless at an arraignment

Sam Haskell Jr. appeared shirtless at his arraignment on Dec. 8, 2023. (Court TV/Pool)

Samuel Bond Haskell IV, 35, entered pleas to three counts of murder with special circumstances of committing multiple murders. If convicted, he could face life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Haskell is the son of Emmy-winning producer Sam Haskell, a former executive at the powerful William Morris talent agency.

The younger Haskell lived in the Tarzana neighborhood of the San Fernando Valley with his wife, their three young children and her parents.

He was arrested in November on suspicion of killing Mei Haskell, 37; her mother, Yanxiang Wang, 64; and stepfather, Gaoshan Li, 72.

READ MORE: Body found in dumpster confirmed to be Sam Haskell’s wife

Prosecutors say that on Nov. 7, Haskell hired four day laborers to remove bags from his property. The workers said they were paid $500 and told that they were hauling away rocks, although the bags felt soggy and soft.

three photos side by side

FILE – This undated photo combination provided by the Los Angeles Police Department shows Mei Haskell, left, and her parents, YanXiang Wang and Gaoshan Li. Samuel Haskell IV has been charged with murder for allegedly killing his wife and her parents, then stuffing dismembered body parts into trash bags. Prosecutors say Samuel Haskell of Tarzana was charged Monday, Nov. 13, 2023, with killing Mei Li Haskell and her parents, who vanished the week before. (Courtesy of Los Angeles Police Department via AP,File)

“One of the laborers opened one of the bags and allegedly observed human body parts,” the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said in a November statement.

The laborers said they drove back to Haskell’s home, left the bags on the driveway and returned the money. They contacted police but by the time officers arrived, the bags were gone, according to a KNBC-TV Channel 4 report.

The next day a homeless man found a duffel bag containing a human torso in a Tarzana dumpster. Haskell was arrested a short time later.

The Los Angeles County coroner determined the torso belonged to Mei Haskell. The remains of her parents haven’t been found.

If convicted, Haskell could be sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole.