More than 20 years after doing the crime, this Huntington Beach Kidnapper is now going to do the time. And to think, he had a Hollywood stint in an Austin Powers Movie between his life of crime and his little bit of fame. I wonder how he’s feeling now, all grown up and no where to go, other than pacing his prison cell. Crime doesn’t pay, people!
By LARRY WELBORN / THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
SANTA ANA – A former movie actor who had a memorable role in an Austin Powers movie was convicted Thursday of torturing a young woman he kidnapped off a Huntington Beach street and sexually assaulted in 1990.
Joseph Hyungmin Son, 40, now faces a potential term of 15 years to life in state prison at his sentencing Sept. 9 by Superior Court Judge Francisco Briseno.
The jury of eight men and four women, which deliberated about three hours, found Son not guilty of conspiracy to commit murder.
Son, who also had a brief and unsuccessful stint as a mixed-martial arts fighter, shook his head briefly when the guilty verdict was announced. He was quickly handcuffed and escorted out of the courtroom.
Deputy District Attorney Eric Scarbrough told the jury in his final arguments Thursday that Son is a sadist who gained pleasure from the suffering of the 19-year-old woman he and his crime partner abducted at gunpoint on Christmas Eve, and then sexually assaulted in the back seat of a car while telling her repeatedly that she was going to die.
Son, of Garden Grove, tortured her to get her to acquiesce to his desire to sexually assault her, Scarbrough contended.
The prosecutor urged the jury to convict Son, who played a shoe-throwing bad guy in the 1997 spy-spoof film “Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery,” to convict Son of both conspiracy to commit murder and torture.
But defense attorney Darren Thompson convinced the jury that there was no specific intent on Son’s part to murder the victim.
Thompson acknowledged that Son and his co-defendant sexually assaulted the woman. But Thompson said they took several measures to conceal their identities during the encounter more than 20 years ago, including placing a jacket over the woman’s head and using false names.
“If you had a specific intent to kill someone, why would you conceal your identity?” Thompson asked.
The defense attorney also said if Son and his crime partner conspired to murder the victim, who was kidnapped after looking at Christmas lights, “there was noting to prevent them from doing it.”
The victim testified last week that after she was repeatedly raped and sodomized at gunpoint, she was dragged out of the car naked and told to run.
She said one of her attackers, whom she identified as Son, told her: “It’s Christmas. This is your lucky day.”
Thompson also argued that Son should be acquitted of the torture charge because the injuries the woman sustained were not significant enough to rise to the level of torture. He said in order to find Son guilty, the jury would have to find that he inflicted great bodily injury to the victim intending to cause extreme pain and suffering. Thompson claimed there is insufficient evidence to reach that conclusion.
The woman testified that she was grabbed off a sidewalk, poked in the eyes, her face was slammed into the ground, she was pistol whipped and forcibly sexually assaulted for hours, during which time she was bitten, all the while one of her attackers held a gun to her head. She added that Son told her repeatedly that she was going to die.
Son initially was charged with multiple sexual assaults and kidnapping counts plus penalty enhancements, but those charges were dropped before trial, in part because the statute of limitations had expired. Instead, he stood trial only on conspiracy to commit murder and torture, both of which carried potential life terms.
There were no arrests in the case in 1990, and the investigation went cold.
But in 2008, Son was sent to prison for violating his parole on an unrelated vandalism conviction. That arrest allowed authorities to extract his DNA profile, which was matched to the DNA recovered during a rape examination of the victim in 1990, prosecutors said.
Santiago Gaitan, 40, Son’s co-defendant, was arrested in 2009 after he was linked to the assault during a follow-up investigation after Son’s arrest. He pleaded guilty to multiple sex crimes in January and was sentenced to prison for 17 years and four months.
Son had a scene in the 1997 Mike Myers “Austin Powers” film, when as character “Random Task” he threw a shoe at Myers, who played Austin Powers, before he was subdued by the character played by actress Elizabeth Hurley with a bottle of champagne.
The scene is a spoof of “Odd Job,” a similar-looking character who threw a lethal bowler hat in the James Bond film “Goldfinger.”