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‘Austin Powers’ Actor Joe Son Charged With Murdering Man Behind Bars

Mark Deming
Movie Talk
September 12, 2013

The long road downhill for actor Joe Son just got a lot steeper.

Best known for playing Random Task, Dr. Evil's henchman with a talent for throwing shoes in "Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery," Son is already serving time in California on charges related to a 1990 gang rape. Now he's been charged with the murder of his cellmate, and if found guilty, it could cost him his life.

Son, a former mixed martial arts fighter, has been accused in the beating death of Thomas Graham, who was found dead on October 10, 2011 at the Wasco State Prison Reception Center in Kern County, California. Graham was serving a two-year sentence for failing to register as a sex offender; he had previously been found guilty of committing lewd and lascivious acts with a child less than 14 years old.

Officials are considering pursuing the death penalty against Son, given the severity of his attack on Graham.

Born in Korea in 1970, Joe Son was an Ultimate Fighting Challenge contestant who made his film debut in 1993 with a small part in the Dolph Lundgren vehicle "Army of One." He also appeared in "Shootfighter: Fight To The Death," "Bad Blood," and "Shootfighter II" before landing his role in "Austin Powers" in 1997.

In 2008, Son was convicted of Felony Vandalism, and was required to give a DNA sample. Through DNA matching, Son was discovered to be one of two men who kidnapped, tortured, beat, and raped an Orange County woman who was out walking her dog on Christmas Eve, 1990. While the rape fell outside the statute of limitations, prosecutors charged Son with conspiracy to commit torture and murder; he was found guilty, and sentenced to fifteen years to life. Son entered prison on September 16, 2011, less than a month before Graham was found dead.