Fri, Oct 14, 2011 - Page 7 News List

‘Austin Powers’ actor suspect in cellmate’s death

AP, SACRAMENTO, California

Joseph Son, a former actor who appeared in the first Austin Powers movie in 1997, is seen in a California Department of Corrections photograph on Sept. 16.

Photo: AP/California Department of Corrections

The California state prison cellmate of an actor from the first Austin Powers movie was beaten to death, local coroner’s officials said on Wednesday.

An autopsy performed on Wednesday showed 50-year-old inmate Michael Graham died of “multiple blunt force injuries,” the Kern County Coroner’s Office said.

The death was a homicide, the office ruled.

Guards found his body on Monday evening in the cell at Wasco State Prison that he shared with 40-year-old Joseph Son, who appeared in 1997’s Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery.

In the movie, he wore a bowler hat and played one of Dr Evil’s henchmen, named Random Task, and was a mixed martial arts fighter.

LIFE SENTENCE

Prison officials said Son is a suspect in Graham’s death.

Son arrived at the prison on Sept. 16 to serve a life sentence for the 1990 gang rape of a Southern California woman.

Graham, 50, arrived at the prison on June 23.

Prison officials said he was a parole violator who was serving a new two-year sentence from San Luis Obispo County for failing to register himself as a sex offender.

Graham previously had not been named as the victim, until relatives were notified.

Son was convicted of torture in August after his DNA linked him to the kidnapping of a then-19-year-old victim as she walked her dog on Christmas Eve.

Son and a co-defendant, Santiago Lopez Gaitan, 40, drove the woman to Huntington Beach at gunpoint.

There they raped and sodomized her in the back of the car and repeatedly threatened to kill her.

DNA MATCH

They released the badly injured woman naked and blindfolded with her own pants.

Police collected DNA evidence at the time, but they could not match it to her assailants until Son pleaded guilty to felony vandalism in 2008 and violated probation.

He was then required to provide a DNA sample.

Son’s co-defendant pleaded guilty in January to five felonies, including kidnapping and sodomy by force in concert.

Gaitan was sentenced to 17 years and four months in state prison.

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