The son of a Hollywood producer and beauty queen actress, who police claim killed his wife and her parents returned to court on Friday shirtless with a clear bag containing dog biscuits and a carton of milk.
Sam Haskell III was charged with murdering his wife Mei Haskell and her parents Goashan Li and Yanxiang Wan, respectively. A homeless man who found the headless body in a garbage bin near the Haskell family’s home, last month, led police to Sam Haskell.
Family friends said that Haskell’s in-laws were Chinese immigrants who had moved into Haskell’s house to help care for the couple’s sons.
Haskell is 35 years old and appears on surveillance footage struggling to throw something heavy into the dumpster.
The police visited Haskell’s house twice before his arrest. A group of day workers told police that they were asked to remove heavy, soggy bags. The officers who responded to the scene found no evidence and were forced out.
According to LAPD Detective Efren Gutierrez, the second time they arrived, they had a search warrant. They allegedly found evidence and blood inside. Police arrested Haskell in a nearby shopping mall.
The arraignment was rescheduled for January 12. Haskell is facing three counts of murder in the first degree, along with special circumstances allegations that may increase his sentence if found guilty.
Haskell was held without bail, and he could be sentenced to life imprisonment without parole. These are severe measures, which have become more common under Los Angeles district attorney George Gascon. He vowed to “do all we can to make sure justice is done” in this case.
The deputy district attorney prosecuting this case protested the delay, stating that some relatives of the victims had traveled to China to attend the proceedings.
Haskell’s mother, actress Mary Donnelly Haskell, and father, Hollywood producer Sam Haskell III, are both known for their roles in several Christmas movies.
Haskell’s father is also a former agent of talent who has represented George Clooney, Dolly Parton, and other A-list celebrities.
Haskell met an old friend in a diner a few weeks before the murders and acted strangely.
“Typically, when we run into each other, it’s a hug,” his friend stated. “This time, he was backing away from me. … He doesn’t want a hug, and he’s backing up, like I’m a threat or something like that.
The woman requested anonymity out of concern for her safety and respect for Haskell’s parents. She described them as “wonderful” people who had always been good to Haskell.
Haskell waved at her with his hand as if to protect his children.
She said, “He was paranoid and sat at the back of the restaurant away from everyone.” “That was strange, even for Sam.”
She described him to be attractive, intelligent, and socially awkward.
Haskell was scowling in court when he made his first appearance in court last month. Mei Haskell’s friends were in the gallery and some of them held signs saying, “We Miss Mei” and “Justice for Mei Today!” Some of the friends were heard to cry during the hearing.