Inside Samuel Haskell Jr’s alias ‘Samuel Basshinger’ – a director who worked with Machine


Murder suspect Samuel Haskell Jr worked as a successful director and producer in Hollywood before he was arrested on suspicion of his wife’s murder.

Haskell Jr, 35, – the son of a top Hollywood producer and a former Miss Mississippi – was arrested on Wednesday at a mall in Topanga, California, after police found a woman’s torso near his home.

His wife Mei Haskell, 37, is missing, and detectives are trying to work out whether the torso is hers. Her parents are also missing.

Haskell Jr. has gone by the stage name of Samuel Basshinger since at least 2013.

He has worked as an editor for stars such as rappers Tyga and Machine Gun Kelly as recently as 2021, per his Twitter account.

Neighbors of Sam Haskell Jr, 35, have claimed he 'seemed weird' as they reacted to his arrest after a woman's torso was found in a dumpster near his California home

Neighbors of Sam Haskell Jr, 35, have claimed he ‘seemed weird’ as they reacted to his arrest after a woman’s torso was found in a dumpster near his California home

Haskell Jr worked as a videographer and producer in Los Angeles, according to his IMDB page and social media accounts

Haskell Jr worked as a videographer and producer in Los Angeles, according to his IMDB page and social media accounts

Mei Haskell (left), her mother YanXiang Wang, 64, and her father Gaoshan Li, 72, are all missing

Mei Haskell (left), her mother YanXiang Wang, 64, and her father Gaoshan Li, 72, are all missing

The creative has also directed photoshoots with actresses Olivia Holt and Brenda Song.

On his website, he wrote: ‘I want to create visuals that move boundaries, by bringing Millennial artists together.’

Haskell Jr had numerous social media accounts under the names Sam Haskell Jr, Samuel Basshinger and tragizstreetz.

He shared videos on TikTok and Instagram complaining about life in Hollywood and making fun of celebrity gossip.

In one clip, he says: ‘Shout out to LinkedIn for making it so much more streamline for me to be told “no” repeatedly.’

In another, he tells his followers: ‘My resume says unhappy, bitter, resentful.’

Haskell Jr. directed a project for Machine Gun Kelly in 2021, seen above

Haskell Jr. directed a project for Machine Gun Kelly in 2021, seen above

Olivia Holt

Tyga

The alleged killer also worked with Olicia Hold and rapper Tyga in projects seen above

Haskell Jr had numerous social media accounts under the names Sam Haskell Jr, Samuel Basshinger and tragizstreetz

Haskell Jr had numerous social media accounts under the names Sam Haskell Jr, Samuel Basshinger and tragizstreetz

Haskell Jr was reportedly working on his directorial and writing debut titled Harvard Law which stars Mickey Koga, Alex Kawaguchi, and Kaile Goh. 

Mei’s parents Gaoshan Li, 72, and YanXiang Wang, 64, who lived with the couple and their three children in Tarzana . Police are now searching for them and their missing SUV – a white VW Tiguan. A white 2014 Nissan Pathfinder is also missing. 

On Tuesday evening, construction workers called the police after seeing what they believed was a dead body in black bags near Henkell’s home, but by the time police arrived, the body was gone.

Detective Efren Gutierrez with the LAPD told NBC4t: ‘When the officers responded, nothing was located… There was no evidence that allowed the officers to make entry into the home… The bags that were described were no longer outside.’

However, a homeless man then came across the human torso in a dumpster in Encino, about five miles from Henkell’s home. The containing the torso matched the description the constructions workers had given.

Henkell Jr was arrested on Wednesday after the construction workers’ witness accounts and video evidence from the scene of the torso’s discovery led police to his house.

Haskell Jr is the son of former top Hollywood agent Samuel Haskell Sr and former Miss Mississippi Mary Donnelly-Haskell. They are seen with Haskell's Sr's associate Dolly Parton

Haskell Jr is the son of former top Hollywood agent Samuel Haskell Sr and former Miss Mississippi Mary Donnelly-Haskell. They are seen with Haskell’s Sr’s associate Dolly Parton

Police discovered blood and evidence consistent with killing and dismemberment at the home, according to officials.

‘Here in the house, once officers made entry, what was discovered was evidence of a crime, including some blood evidence and other items that I’m not going to provide at this point,’ Gutierrez said.

The arrest of Haskell Jr. – has rocked their neighborhood in Tarzana, where the family lived in a $2.5 million, six bedroom, house. 

One neighbor told ABC 7 News that she knew Mei Haskell, but her husband seemed strange.

‘The husband – something seemed so off,’ the woman said. ‘Something seemed so weird. I thought maybe he was sick, or something was wrong. All I said was, I kept saying to my family, something is wrong with him.’

The Los Angeles Times reported that Haskell Jr was arrested in 2008 for assault with a deadly weapon and sentenced to three years’ probation in 2010.  

Haskell Jr. posted this photo of his wife Mei in January 2014

Haskell Jr. posted this photo of his wife Mei in January 2014

The bag was found stuffed into a duffel bag and tossed into a dumpster (pictured) behind Ventura Boulevard and Rubio Avenue, near a family-style restaurant, a hair salon and two banks

The bag was found stuffed into a duffel bag and tossed into a dumpster (pictured) behind Ventura Boulevard and Rubio Avenue, near a family-style restaurant, a hair salon and two banks

The couple’s three children, aged 6, 8 and 12 – Samuel Bond Haskell V, James Donnelly Haskell, and William Kirkpatrick Haskell II – were found safe at school and are now with family. 

Haskell Jr.’s father, Samuel Haskell Sr., was a high-profile agent with William Morris, whose clients included Dolly Parton, George Clooney, Whoopi Goldberg and King Charles’s brother, Prince Edward.

He retired from William Morris in 2005, and in 2009 published a memoir entitled ‘Promises I Made My Mother’, which his publishers described as a ‘deeply personal and spiritually-enriching story about living a principled life in unprincipled times.’

In 2012, the multiple Emmy-winner founded Magnolia Hill Productions with Dolly Parton, and produces many of her television specials.

Haskell Sr. was CEO of the Miss America organization from 2015-17, but resigned after he was found to have criticized some of the contestants in private emails, ridiculing one for gaining weight and describing another as promiscuous.

He was also president of The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Awards, and public records show Haskell Jr was employed by the foundation at one point.



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