By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN
Prosecutors have charged a former actor best known for appearing in the first "Austin Powers" film in connection with the 2011 beating death of his cellmate in Wasco State Prison.
Joseph Son, 42, was already serving a life sentence at the time of the prison killing. He's charged with assault by a life prisoner with force causing death, which is similar to a murder charge.
Son is eligible for the death penalty but Kern County Deputy District Attorney Sara Danville said a decision on whether to seek death hasn't been made. Son's arraignment is scheduled for Sept. 26.
Danville said she couldn't comment further on the case.
Son was convicted of torture and given a life sentence in 2011 after DNA evidence linked him to a 1990 gang rape in Orange County. He was sent to Wasco State Prison.
California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation reports filed in Kern County Superior Court say Son killed cellmate Michael Graham, who was serving a two-year term for failing to register as a sex offender.
The reports say prison staff responded to Son's cell at 5:25 p.m. Oct. 10, 2011, for a report of a man down. Son was standing at the door of the cell.
"I told you I need to get out of here," he told an officer, then began washing his hands.
Graham was lying unresponsive on the cell's lower bunk with his eyes and mouth open. Officers handcuffed Son and medical staff worked on Graham, but he was pronounced dead at 5:50 p.m.
The report says Graham died from multiple blunt force trauma.
Son achieved a measure of fame as Dr. Evil's henchman Random Task in the 1997 film "Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery." He was a mixed martial arts fighter before taking up acting.