Actor sentenced to life in prison for gang rape

Associated Press

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — A bit actor who appeared in the first "Austin Powers" movie was sentenced Friday to life in prison without the possibility of parole in the violent 1990 gang rape of a Southern California woman.

Joseph Son, 40, was found guilty of one felony count of torture Aug. 25 after being linked to the crime through DNA evidence, said Farrah Emami, spokeswoman for the Orange County district attorney.

In 1997's "Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery," Son wore a bowler hat and played one of Dr. Evil's henchmen, named Random Task.

Son and co-defendant Santiago Lopez Gaitan, 40, abducted the then-19-year-old victim as she was walking her dog by her apartment on Christmas Eve.

Son and Gaitan drove the woman to Huntington Beach and repeatedly raped and sodomized her in the back of the car at gunpoint. They also pistol-whipped her and repeatedly threatened to kill her, counting the bullets and telling her she was going to die.

Prosecutors say the woman, identified in court papers as Jane Doe, begged for her life before Son and Gaitan released her, naked, badly injured and blindfolded with her own pants. She went to a local home, where police were called.

Evidence was collected from the woman that Christmas Eve, but the case eventually went cold.

It wasn't until Son pleaded guilty to felony vandalism in 2008 and violated probation that he was required to provide a DNA sample. That sample was linked to DNA collected from Doe in 1990.

In an "impact statement" to the court, the woman said she deals with post-traumatic stress disorder daily, and Christmas has become difficult to celebrate every year.

"My emotional scars are intense," she told the court. "My twenties were stripped from my life as I relearned how to walk, see, hear and cope with the outside world again."

Gaitan pleaded guilty in January to five felonies, including kidnapping and sodomy by force in concert. He was sentenced to 17 years and four months in state prison.

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