LOS ANGELES—A Los Angeles man was charged Monday with murder for allegedly killing his wife and her parents, then stuffing dismembered body parts into a trash bag, prosecutors announced Monday.
Samuel Haskell, 35, was charged with three counts of murder with special circumstances of committing multiple murders and could face life in prison without the chance of parole if convicted, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said in a statement.
During a court appearance, Mr. Haskell’s arraignment was postponed and he was ordered held without bail. An email seeking comment from Joseph Gutierrez, an attorney who represented him in court Monday, wasn’t immediately returned.
Mr. Haskell lived in the Tarzana neighborhood of the San Fernando Valley with his wife, their three young children, and her parents.
He was arrested last week after a human torso was found in a bag in a dumpster, police said.
Mei Li Haskell, 37, and her parents, Gaoshan Li, 72, and Yanxiang Wang, 64, were last seen on or about Nov. 6, the DA’s office statement said.
“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.”
They returned the bags and money, but the bags weren’t there when police arrived, authorities have said.
The same day, Mr. Haskell was caught on video dumping something in a dumpster in nearby Encino, authorities said. 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.
The torso is suspected to be that of Mr. Haskell’s wife, police have said. However, they haven’t been officially identified, the Los Angeles County medical examiner’s department told KNBC-TV.
“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.”
“There were items of evidence in the house that indicated he dismembered the bodies,” Ms. Silverman said.
By Robert Jablon