Felon charged with manslaughter in death of Hemet senior


BANNING (CNS) – Involuntary manslaughter and other charges were filed Wednesday, Oct. 14 against a convicted felon whose alleged mishandling of a firearm while under the influence of drugs caused it to discharge and fatally wound a 75-year-old Hemet woman for whom he was a caregiver.
John Reza Jowkar, 37, of Hemet was arrested Friday after Janice L. Graves was shot at her residence in the 700 block of Via Linda Drive.
Along with the manslaughter count, Jowkar is charged with being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm, being under the influence of methamphetamine and heroin while in possession of a loaded gun, and possession of methamphetamine.
Jowkar is being held in lieu of $500,000 bail at the Byrd Detention Center in Murrieta and is slated to make his initial court appearance Thursday at the Banning Justice Center.
According to Hemet police Lt. Michael Arellano, patrol officers were called to the Via Linda home about 1:30 p.m. Friday to investigate reports of “an elderly female suffering from a single gunshot wound.”
Officers and paramedics reached the location about the same time and found Graves critically wounded. She was taken to Hemet Valley Hospital, where she died a short time later.
Arellano said Jowkar was taken into custody without incident at the property and interviewed by detectives. The defendant identified himself as the victim’s caregiver, Arellano said.
“Investigators learned that Jowkar was in the garage, manipulating and disassembling several … firearms,” Arellano said. “One of those firearms inadvertently discharged and struck the elderly female victim.”
The gun was identified in court documents as a 9mm semiautomatic pistol.
No other details were released, including how long the convicted felon had been a caregiver for Graves.
According to court records, his prior felony offenses were in another jurisdiction, but they were not specified.