Killer could get out of prison after 2 years

Convicted sex offender John Steven Burgess (left) pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and was sentenced to five years in prison for the death of Donna Jou
April 11, 2011 3:23:43 PM PDT
A man in California, who admitted to dumping the body of a Texas woman in the ocean after he claims she died of a drug overdose, is about to get out of prison after serving just two years of a five-year sentence. Now her father is preparing to fly from Clear Lake to California to fight his release. Donna Jou graduated from Clear Lake High School in 2006. Now her father fears the man who admitted guilt in connection with her death could strike again.

Nearly four years after his 19-year-old daughter went missing, Reza Jou still wears a picture of his daughter, Donna, around his neck every day.

He said, "My child's voice has been silenced, but my voice is never going to be silenced."

Reza is speaking up again because the man who plead guilty in connection with Donna's death is about to be released from prison. Jou recently received a letter from the California Department of Corrections stating that John Steven Burgess would be paroled just two years into his five year sentence.

Jou said, "I'm very angry of how the criminal justice system works. In this case, we've been victimized not only by Burgess, we've been victimized by our criminal justice system."

Burgess pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and hiding Donna's body. Investigators say the two met through an ad Donna placed on Craigslist offering math tutoring. Burgess told investigators Donna attended a party at his Los Angeles-area home and that he gave her heroine, cocaine and alcohol. He claimed he woke up to find her dead the next morning. He says he panicked and dumped her body in the Pacific Ocean.

Donna has never been found. Without a body and scientific proof, her father never believed Burgess' claims. Donna was attending college in California as a straight-A student with aspirations of becoming a doctor. Her father can't believe what the state of California is telling him about why it is releasing Burgess, a convicted sex offender. He says they told him the sentence was reduced for good behavior.

"This is very unfair," Reza said. "He got a small slap on his wrist for such a heinous crime."

California Department of Corrections officials did not return calls for comment. Donna's mother is in Sacramento hoping to corner the governor at a victim's rights rally to see if he can intervene. Her father is planning a trip to California later this week to protest outside the Criminal Justice Center in Los Angeles on the day of the release.


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