Home News Crime & Incidents Murder Charge Filed In Med School Student’s Winchester Slaying

Murder Charge Filed In Med School Student’s Winchester Slaying


WINCHESTER, CA — A 60-year-old man pleaded not guilty Wednesday to a charge of first-degree murder in connection with the death of a medical school student found stabbed near the intersection of Winchester and Thompson roads in Winchester.

Joseph Henry Mokate of Hemet is being held in lieu of $1 million bail at Banning’s Larry D. Smith Correctional Facility and is set to make his next court appearance Friday for a felony settlement conference, according to jail and court records.

Mokate is accused in the slaying of 29-year-old Boris Stepanyuk of Winchester. Stepanyuk’s body was found at the intersection just before 7 p.m. April 25; he had suffered a “possible stab wound,” according to the sheriff’s department.

It’s not clear what led investigators to Mokate. He was arrested in Palm Desert about three hours after Stepanyuk’s body was discovered. A relationship between the two men, if any, was not disclosed by investigators nor was a possible motive.

City News Service reported that Mokate pulled a weapon and stabbed Stepanyuk at least once in the upper body, after which he fled. Witnesses called 911, and patrol deputies and paramedics reached the location a short time later.

The accused, Joseph Henry Mokate, following his April 25 arrest. (Riverside County Sheriff’s Dept.)

Court records show Mokate has no felony criminal convictions in Riverside County.

According to a GoFundMe page established for Stepanyuk’s mother and his younger brother, the victim was studying medicine and had dreams of becoming a surgeon.

“Boris was brilliant and worked hard to get into medical school,” the page reads. “After graduating from Point Loma Charter School, he graduated from UCSD. Then, he attended the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Boris was funny but reserved and quiet. He loved his family and his dog, a huskie named Mischa. He regularly enjoyed daily sunrise and sunset walks with her through his neighborhood.”



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