donna-jou.jpgNot only was John Steven Burgess, 41 years old, convicted of manslaughter, he was also a registered sex offended to boot. Burgess was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and concealing the body of 19 year old Donna Jou. Donna was a straight “A” student from San Diego State University.

According to reports, Donna had placed an ad in the popular Craigslist online offering math tutoring. Burgess apparently contacted Donna and soon became friends with him. On June 23, 2007 she had attended a party held at the home of Burgess in Los Angeles and her parents haven’t seen her since.

After investigating the case, authorities were led to Burgess who is also known as SinJin Stevens. Burgess had previously been convicted of performing a lewd act against a child in 2003 and of three counts of battery in 2002.

On May 7, 2009 Donna’s parents got to talk to Burgess, when he agreed to meet with them. There were so many unanswered questions especially since she has never been found. He told the family that he has given Donna some cocaine, heroine, and alcohol at the party held at his house. He claims the next morning he found her dead in a chair. He says he panicked and put her body in the back of his truck and was going to drive her to her home but changed his mind while driving there. He said he then covered her up with a blanket and then put her inside a bag. He went in his boat and claims he dumped her body into the ocean. After being told that the family still had hopes that she was a live somewhere, he told them, “Don’t wait anymore, I gave her to the sea.”

Somehow Burgess managed to work out a plea deal with the prosecutors and he plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter and for concealing the body of Donna Jou. He was sentenced by a judge in a court of law to only 5 years in the state prison.

Now Burgess is being set free on parole this Friday, after only serving only 2 years of the five year sentence. California officials say that it is not uncommon for state prisoners to be released after serving only half their sentences with good behavior. Burgess is being released and he hasn’t even served half of his sentence.

The Jou family is outraged, with every right to be so. They call this a slap on the wrist. Nili Jou, Donna’s mother, is taking her fight for justice to Sacramento. “From the beginning my daughter didn’t get any justice. Justice failed us. The system failed us,” she said. “The killer needs to be shot, the killer needs to be dead, the killer needs to pay for it.”

john-burgess.jpgNili Jou says that Burgess does not belong in society and that justice has not been served. I have to agree with her. This man should never be released from prison. He will only go out and do similar crimes again. He is a danger to society.

The family is having a hard time buying Burgess’s story about what happened to their daughter. They have had a lot of underwater searches done by various experts and they have never found any sign of Donna. Reza Jou, Donna’s father thinks Burgess has lied about what he did with his daughter and has devoted his life to finding her.

Although the law enforcement now considers the case closed, Donna Jou’s family will continue searching for her. They are offering a $15,000 reward to anyone that can give them information that can lead them to their daughter.

My prayers are with this family who desperately want to find their daughter. I pray that they will soon find her so they can come to some sort of peace with this whole ordeal.

Denny Griffin and his CrimeWire team focused on Donna Jou’s case in their recent program. You can listen to the recording here. Jan Barrett

Be Sociable, Share!