Donna Jou’s family to protest early release of convicted sex offender
The family of a deceased San Diego State student is speaking out over the release of the man who pleaded guilty in connection with her death. The family was outraged at the time of the investigation, and that continues with the release of John Burgess, scheduled for this Friday.
When San Diego State student Donna Jou disappeared in June of 2007, little did her family know that their torment was just beginning.
Reza Jou, Donna's father, said he worries that Friday's release will allow a dangerous man back on the streets. Back in 2007, the family knew he was the last person to see Donna, but Burgess, whom Jou had met on Craigslist, wasn't talking.
The pair were last seen getting on the back of Burgess' motorcycle outside Jou's home in Orange County.
After suspicion of involvement in Jou's disappearance, Burgess went to Florida but he failed to register as a sex offender and was sent to prison.
Then, in May of 2009, Burgess pleaded guilty in Los Angeles to involuntary manslaughter in connection with Jou's disappearance.
He admitted giving her cocaine and heroin at a party in L.A., claiming Donna Jou overdosed. Burgess said he panicked and dumped her body in the ocean.
He was sentenced to five years in prison, but this Friday, he's being released after serving only two years.
Jou said he believes Burgess will definitely prey on somebody else, saying, “He's got three previous convictions, he's been charged and convicted of crimes for the past 25 years.”
Jou says the family is outraged at Burgess' early release, just as they were outraged by a plea deal when they insist he's directly responsible for Donna's disappearance.
This week, Jou's mother is in Sacramento as part of National Crime Victims' Rights Week. Friday, she will join Reza and other family members and supporters outside the Los Angeles courthouse, where the L.A. District Attorney is headquartered, to protest Burgess' release.
Jou also said the family believes Donna could still be alive because her body was never found.
“We believe that there's a lot going on behind the scenes, that my daughter has been trafficked to other countries by this con man,” said Reza. “There is no DNA evidence, no credible witnesses, there is nothing. All they use is what Burgess said.”