Joe Son

Joseph Hyung-min Son (Korean: 손형민; born November 22, 1970) is a South Korean-born American convicted felon and a former mixed martial artist and actor. He is currently serving life in prison in California for torture.[1]

Joe Son
Joe Son mugshot.jpg
Joseph Hyung-min Son

(1970-11-22) November 22, 1970 (age 50)
Criminal statusIncarcerated at High Desert State Prison[citation needed]
Conviction(s)Felony Vandalism, Torture, Voluntary Manslaughter
Criminal penaltyLife imprisonment without parole

Early lifeEdit

Son was born in South Korea. He moved to California at an early age.[2]

Mixed martial arts careerEdit

Joe Son
BornJoseph Hyungmin Son
(1970-11-22) November 22, 1970 (age 50)
South Korea
Height5 ft 4 in (1.63 m)
Weight236 lb (107 kg; 16.9 st)
Fighting out ofLas Vegas, Nevada, United States
Mixed martial arts record
By knockout2
By submission2
Other information
Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog
Son Hyungmin
Revised RomanizationSon Hyeong-min
McCune–ReischauerSon Hyǒng-min

Son was a mixed martial arts fighter and retired with a record of 0–4.[3] Though he had appeared before in Ultimate Fighting Championship's UFC 3 in 1994 as Kimo Leopoldo's cornerman, Son had his proper debut at the UFC 4 event, entering the tournament billed as a taekwondo black belt and founder of a style called "Jo Son Do".[4] He was pitted against kenpo fighter Keith Hackney, whom Son outweighed by 30 pounds. Son was able to perform a takedown and a guillotine choke attempt, but Hackney countered by punching Son's groin repeatedly, which was legal under the rules of the event.[5] Keith then performed a blood choke with his fingers and Son tapped out, being eliminated from the tournament.

After his fight in UFC, he competed in a match for the K-1 kickboxing federation, facing established star Nobuaki Kakuda. The much heavier Son initially led the pace with body shots and knees, scoring a mild knockdown by right hook, but he was eventually knocked out by Kakuda via high kick and punches.

In 2002, Son debuted for Japanese promotion PRIDE Fighting Championships, fighting Takada Dojo exponent Yusuke Imamura at the PRIDE The Best Vol.2. He infamously wore a leopard thong with the PRIDE logo and sported eye makeup, as well as a bowler hat at his entrance, and hugged Imamura during the staredown. The bout was short, and Son quit after he was taken down and almost slid out the ring, claiming an elbow injury.

On April 12, 2002, Son also took part in Xtreme Pankration 2, wherein he faced Joe Moreira. After a brief exchange of strikes, Moreira landed a hit which drew blood, and Son then refused to continue fighting, and the fight was called. The result was officially listed as "submission (terror)".[6] Son would return to PRIDE in July, facing Jukei Nakajima, and he once again gave up after being injured by being thrown on his head by the Japanese fighter.

Son was also a professional wrestler in Japan for a short time, wrestling Shinya Hashimoto at All Japan Pro Wrestling's second Wrestle-1 event [7] and working as singer and dancer for HUSTLE's third event.[8]

Acting careerEdit

Son is best known for his role in the 1997 movie Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery as Random Task, a parody of the James Bond character Odd Job.[9] This was also his final film role. Previously, Son had appeared in several low budget action films, including Joshua Tree (1993) and Bloodfist V: Human Target (1994). He played the main villain in the Lorenzo Lamas action film Bad Blood in 1994. He plays a supporting role in Shootfighter: Fight to the Death (1993) and a leading role as the main villain in its sequel Shootfighter II (1996).[8][10]

Criminal convictionsEdit

Son pleaded guilty to felony vandalism on May 16, 2008, whereupon he was sentenced to probation and 60 days in jail. On August 18, 2008, he was taken into custody and given an additional 90 days in jail, due to a probation violation for failing to report to the Department of Probation and keep them informed of his current residence. As a condition of his original plea agreement, Son was required to provide a DNA sample. In early October 2008, his DNA sample was linked to a 1990 Christmas Eve gang rape. Already in custody for a probation violation, Son was arrested at the Theo Lacy facility on October 7, 2008.[11]

In October 2008, Son was charged by California authorities in relation to his participation in a 1990 gang rape. He was initially charged in Orange County, California, with five counts of rape, two felony counts of forcible sodomy, two felony counts of sodomy in concert by force, seven felony counts of forcible oral copulation, and one felony count of sexual penetration by foreign object by force. He faced a maximum sentence of 275 years to life if convicted.[3][12]

Son and an accomplice tortured and repeatedly raped the victim before releasing her with her pants tied around her eyes. During the trial, the woman said that Son told her, "It's Christmas. This is your lucky day." Before jury selection began for his trial in early August 2011, the initial charges against Son were dropped having expired due to the statute of limitations. Son was then charged with conspiracy to commit torture and murder, crimes which have no statute of limitations.[13] In late August, Son was found guilty of one felony count of torture.

During the trial, the Orange County District Attorney's Office maintained that both Son and his co-defendant, Santiago Lopez Gaitan, pistol-whipped their female victim, repeatedly threatened to kill her, and raped her before finally releasing her. Gaitan, 40, pleaded guilty to one felony count each of kidnapping, sodomy by force in concert, rape in concert, forcible oral copulation, and forcible rape with a sentencing enhancement for committing rape while armed with a firearm. He was sentenced January 28, 2011, to 17 years and four months in state prison. On September 19, 2011, Son was sentenced to 7 years to life.[11]

In October 2011, Son was accused of killing his cellmate, Michael Thomas Graham, a convicted sex offender.[14][15] The killing happened on October 10, 2011, on "B" Yard Reception, building 5 at Wasco State Prison. The beating occurred at 5:25 p.m. and Graham died 25 minutes later.[16] After the killing occurred, Son was moved to solitary confinement.[17] On September 13, 2013, Son was officially charged with Graham's murder. At his trial in 2017, he was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter, and received a 27-year sentence.[18]

Mixed martial arts recordEdit

Professional record breakdown
4 matches 0 wins 4 losses
By knockout 0 2
By submission 0 2
Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Loss 0–4 Jukei Nakajima TKO (shoulder injury) Pride The Best Vol.2 July 20, 2002 1 0:54 Tokyo, Japan
Loss 0–3 Joe Moreira Submission (terror) Xtreme Pankration 2 April 12, 2002 1 N/A Los Angeles, California, United States
Loss 0–2 Yusuke Imamura TKO (elbow injury) Pride The Best Vol.1 February 22, 2002 1 0:33 Tokyo, Japan
Loss 0–1 Keith Hackney Submission (blood choke) UFC 4 December 16, 1994 1 2:44 Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States

Kickboxing recordEdit

Result Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Loss 0–1   Nobuaki Kakuda KO (Punch) K-3 Grand Prix '95 July 16, 1995 1 1:40   Nagoya, Japan [19]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Joe Son". IMDb. Retrieved 2016-04-13.
  2. ^ "Joe Son". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-12-21.
  3. ^ a b Child, Ben (October 10, 2008). "Austin Powers Henchman faces life in prison". The Guardian. London. Retrieved March 18, 2009.
  4. ^ Scott Newman (2006-08-16). "MMA Review: #53: UFC 4: Revenge of the Warriors". The Oratory. Retrieved 2016-06-02.
  5. ^ "Epic Mullet Guy Crushes Asian Guy's Balls".
  6. ^
  7. ^ Kreikenbohm, Philip. "AJPW 2ND WRESTLE-1 « Events Database « CAGEMATCH - The Internet Wrestling Database".
  8. ^ a b "The MMA Mental Hall of Fame: Joe Son a.k.a. Random Task". 2009-01-17. Archived from the original on 2010-01-19. Retrieved 2015-09-12.
  9. ^ Liddy, Tom (2008-10-10). ""Austin" Actor in Rape Bust". New York Post. Retrieved 2009-12-21.
  10. ^ Bullet Points: Shootfighter 2,, April 5, 2016
  11. ^ a b [ Orange County District Attorney Press Release] at the Wayback Machine (archived 20 August 2018)
  12. ^ "'Austin Powers' Actor Charged in Unsolved Gang Rape". October 10, 2008. Retrieved March 18, 2009.
  13. ^ Welborn, Larry (August 16, 2011). "'Austin Powers' actor on trial in rape case". The Orange County Register. Retrieved August 16, 2011.
  14. ^ "Joe Son Suspected in California Inmate's Death". October 11, 2011. Retrieved October 11, 2011.
  15. ^ Howard, Greg (2011-10-12). "Austin Powers Actor Suspected of Killing Cellmate". Archived from the original on 2012-03-30. Retrieved 2015-09-15.
  16. ^ "Former movie actor charged with murder". KGET-TV. 2013-09-12. Archived from the original on 2014-12-20. Retrieved 2015-10-11.
  17. ^ "'Austin Powers' Actor Suspected Of Prison Killing". Huffington Post. October 11, 2011.
  18. ^ "'Austin Powers' actor found guilty of lesser charge of manslaughter". July 24, 2017. Retrieved August 6, 2017.
  19. ^ Habermann, Jens. "fighter's profile - Joe Son -".

External linksEdit