Brian Lee Randone, 45, was charged last week with one count of murder and one count of torture. He was scheduled for arraignment on Sept. 29 and faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted, said Jane Robison, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.
Randone remained jailed Friday on $2 million bail. Robison did not know whether he had an attorney.
Randone was arrested on Sept. 11. Prosecutors said he beat and choked Felicia Lee during a domestic dispute at their apartment in the foothill community of Monrovia, northeast of Los Angeles.
He then dialed 911 to report she was unconscious, investigators said.
"It appeared to be torture prior to the murder," Sgt. Brian Schoonmaker, a homicide detective working the case, said Friday. Lee apparently suffered dozens of injuries in the 24 hours before she died, Schoonmaker said, but he did not provide details.
The two had lived together for only a few months, Schoonmaker said. Investigators were still trying to determine the motive for the killing.
In 2000, Randone appeared on the Fox special "The Sexiest Bachelor in America." He vied with contestants from other states but did not win.
A Fox spokeswoman said Friday that she was not immediately familiar with the show.
Lee, who was born in Singapore, had parts in the movies "Rush Hour 2" and "The Fast and the Furious" and had done some modeling for the Playboy television channel, according to her Web site, which she shut down last year.
She also appeared in several adult movies under the name Felicia Tang. Candace Kita, a model who had worked with her, said Lee was nude in the movies but did not portray any sex acts.
Randone was involved in ministry as a mime and did "some evangelistic types of entertainment," Schoonmaker said. He did not know when or where Randone performed.
According to the CBS blog "48 Hours Crimesider," Randone had a Web site in the early 2000s advertising a ministry that offered "critically-acclaimed performances."
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According to "Crimesider," Randone said on the Web site that he had no plans to "try to be sexy" in the pageant, where he represented his home state of Nebraska.
"I hope to talk about qualities that are really important, what's inside, such as faithfulness, love, commitment and self-control, the masculine characteristics of a Christian," he said.
He also wrote that "we are all sinners" and that sin "is as small as thinking a bad thought and/or as big as murder."
"Because of sin, we deserve hell. I know that if there is one thing I deserve in life its (sic) hell," he said.
Randone has a bachelor's degree from Moody Bible Institute in Chicago and a master's of divinity degree from Southwestern Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune reported.
He worked as a mime on the campus of Baylor University in Texas in 1996, the newspaper said.
Lee's murder is reminiscent of another case last month, in which Ryan Jenkins, a former contestant on the reality TV show "Megan Wants a Millionaire," allegedly killed his wife, ex-model Jasmine Fiore, in Los Angeles, then fled to Canada and killed himself.
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