Donna Jou's Killer to Be Released: Report

By R. Stickney
|  Monday, Apr 11, 2011  |  Updated 10:48 AM PDT
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John Steven Burgess Pleads Guilty

A man long suspected of having a role in the death of a San Diego State student missing since 2007 was charged with multiple criminal counts Tuesday in connection to her case.

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Missing Student's Family Searches for Answers

Donna Jou's family held a news conference 15 months after her disappearance, hopeful that new evidence would turn up in the case.

John Steven Burgess Pleads Guilty

John Steven Burgess pleaded guilty for his involvement in the June 2007 disappearance of a 19-year-old Orange County woman.
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The man sent to prison in the death of a 19-year old college student will be released less than a year after his sentencing.

John Steven Burgess, a convicted sex offender, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and concealment of an accidental death in connection with the June 2007 disappearance of Donna Jou.

Investigators believe Jou likely died of a drug overdose and was dumped into the ocean somewhere off the Southern California coast.

When asked by Deputy District Attorney David Walgren to describe the circumstances of Jou's death, Burgess said he answered an advertisement she placed on craigslist.com and brought her to his Palms area house, where there was alcohol and drugs, including marijuana, cocaine and heroin.

"I gave her some," Burgess said, as the victim's family sat two rows behind him in court.

Burgess said he awoke in the morning and "she was gone... she was dead."

"I just, I panicked and got scared and... I made a really bad decision. And I went down to my sailboat and I just, I gave her to the sea," he said.

"Did you put her body in the ocean?" the prosecutor asked.

"Yes, sir," Burgess responded.

Jou's father, Reza, told a Los Angeles television station that he's been notified Burgess will be released on parole Friday April 15.

"He is going to be free again to destroy other families, to destroy other children so this is not right," Jou told KABC. "This guy does not belong to the society. He has to be incarcerated. He has to be kept behind bars."

Jou was an honors student at San Diego State University.

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