'Austin Powers' Actor Suspected in Death of Prison Cellmate

10:29 PM PST 10/11/2011 by THR staff

Joseph Son -- who played one of Dr. Evil's henchmen, Random Task, in the 1997 movie -- is serving a life sentence for the rape and torture of a Southern California woman.

An Austin Powers actor and former mixed martial arts pro who was convicted of the rape and torture of a Huntington Beach, Calif., woman is suspected in the death of his cellmate at the California prison where he is serving a life sentence.

Joseph Son, 40, who wore a bowler hat and played Random Task, one of Dr. Evil's henchmen, in 1997's Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, arrived at Wasco State Prison in the state's Central Valley on Sept. 16 after he was sentenced in Orange County for the 1990 gang rape of a Southern California woman.

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Corrections officials told the Associated Press that the dead inmate was a parole violator serving a new two-year sentence from San Luis Obispo County for failing to register as a sex offender. He was found dead Monday in the cell he shared with Son.

The death is being treated as a homicide, but officials declined to say how the inmate died or why his death is considered suspicious.

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The cellmate, 50, wasn't immediately identified because relatives had not been notified. An autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday.

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

Prosecutors said the victim was abducted by Son and Santiago Lopez Gaitan, 40, who dragged her into the back of a car, pistol whipped her and threatened to shoot her. She also alleged that the two men repeatedly raped her and sexually penetrated her with a firearm before letting her go in Compton naked with her pants tied around her eyes.

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Son's co-defendant was sentenced to 17 years and four months in state prison after he pleaded guilty in January to five felonies, including kidnapping and sodomy by force in concert.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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