UPDATE, OCT. 13, 8:36 A.M.: The cellmate who rapist and torturer Joseph Hyungmin Son is accused of killing has been identified as Michael Thomas Graham, 50, of San Luis Obispo County, according to Wasco State Prison officials.
Graham was beaten to death, the Kern County coroner's office concluded.
ORIGINAL POST, OCT. 11, 4:01 P.M.: Joseph Hyungmin Son, the mixed-martial arts fighter and Hollywood actor who received a life prison sentence last month for torturing a Huntington Beach woman on Christmas Eve 1990, has already killed his cellmate at Wasco State Prison Reception Center, according to authorities in Kern County.
Son, who played Dr. Evil's henchman Random Task in the 1997 comedy Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, is the main suspect although prison officials say they will await the full investigation before filing charges.
The only identification prison officials have provided for Son's deceased cellmate, who was found dead Monday afternoon, is he was a 50-year-old parole violator who had been sentenced to two years behind bars for failing to register as a sex offender, reports the Los Angeles Times. Cause of death was pending.
A 20-year-old woman was snatched off a Surf City street while walking her dog on Christmas Eve 1990 by Son and Santiago Gaitan, who is also 40. She went on to be pistol-whipped, repeatedly raped, threatened with a loaded gun and ultimately tossed--bruised, battered and naked except for a jacket wrapped around her head--out of car in Compton. Her captors told her they were releasing her as a Christmas present.
After violating his parole for felony vandalism in 2008, Son's DNA was extracted and sent to the state database, which produced a match from the 1990 rape of the Huntington Beach woman. Various other charges, including rape and kidnapping, could not be filed against Son because the statute of limitations had by then expired.
A jury in August convicted Son of torture, and Orange County Superior Court Judge Francisco Briseno the following month imposed the life sentence that allows Son the ability to apply for parole. A murder conviction while locked up would make that damn near impossible, one presumes.
Gaitan pleaded guilty in January and was sentenced to 17 years and four months in state prison.
At Son's sentencing, his victim told the court, "The post traumatic stress disorder is with me daily as I have triggers that set me off. I feel debilitating fear come over me and am convinced a hand is coming from behind again. My emotional scars are intense. My twenties were stripped from my life as I relearned how to walk, see, hear and cope with the outside world again. Joseph Son not only cost me my job at my salon but also my college savings... not to mention the impact it's made on celebrating Christmas year after year."
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
In Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, Son's character Random Task was a spoof of the baddie "Odd Job" in the James Bond film Goldfinger. Son fought in professional mixed-martial arts bouts as Joe Son.