By Sam Quinones Los Angeles Times Staff Writer 4:29 p.m. CDT, October 11, 2011
An "Austin Powers" actor convicted of torturing a woman in Orange County is suspected of killing his cellmate in a Central Valley prison, authorities said Tuesday.
Joseph Hyungmin Son, 40, allegedly killed his 50-year-old cellmate, who was found dead Monday afternoon at Wasco State Prison Reception Center in Kern County.
The cellmate was a parole violator who had been sentenced to two years in prison for failing to register as a sex offender, according to a prison report. A cause of death was pending.
Prison officials have named Son as the suspect, but officials said charges against him will await the completion of the investigation. Son, who played henchman Random Task in "Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery," was also briefly a mixed martial arts fighter who used the name Joe Son.
He had arrived at the prison reception center Sept. 16 after having been convicted of torture and sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Prosecutors in the torture case said the woman was walking back to her apartment alone with her dog after going to look at Christmas lights with a relative and friend and was stopped by Son about 12:30 a.m. on Christmas Eve 1990.
Son asked her for directions and then, with another man, dragged her to a car, threw her in the back and drove away.
Son and the other man told her they were driving to Compton, pistol-whipped her and repeatedly threatened to kill her.