Donna Jou’s killer to be released

John Steven Burgess, who pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the death of Donna Jou, is about to be released from prison, having served half of a five-year sentence. From the article:

With an overcrowded prison system, it is common for state prisoners to be released after serving half of their sentences with good behavior. [Donna’s mom] Nili Jou said she received a notice in February that Burgess is scheduled to be released April 15.
“I don’t know what to do,” she said. “I’m frustrated. I’m angry.”
On the Jous’ website,, the family has posted the letter it received from state corrections about Burgess’ release. According to the letter, Burgess is to be paroled in Los Angeles.

It’s pretty disgusting. Mostly because I don’t believe, and Donna’s parents don’t believe, and many others don’t believe Burgess’s story as to how she died. According to him, she accidentally ODed on some heroin and cocaine he gave her. But Donna had no history of drug use. She was a very responsible, intelligent young woman, a pre-med student, who knew perfectly well the dangers of using hard drugs. And Burgess is a sex offender and the last time anyone talked to Donna, she said he was “freaking her out” and she had locked herself in a bathroom to get away from him. Oh, and he supposedly left her body lying in the bed of his pickup in a residential neighborhood for a couple of days before disposing of it. In southern California. In June. And nobody saw or smelled anything.


But what can you do? The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has spoken. Somehow I don’t think there’s any rehabilitating HIM.

6 thoughts on “Donna Jou’s killer to be released

  1. Kat April 11, 2011 / 7:02 pm

    Lovely. And when he does it again (and he most likely will), everyone will be screaming for his head saying he should have stayed locked up. The fact that they had no body and all weighed heavily in this case. I saw an interview with Donna’s family on some E special a while ago, and it was just heartbreaking to hear them speak of their loss. Such a shame. However, while I do not believe his version of events, it’s worth noting that even well educated medical professionals do dabble in drugs now and then. I’m not saying she did, but it’s not out of the realm. It does happen. A cross b/w just for kicks and let’s see what happens. I’ve known people like that. Fortunately, no one died or met up with the wrong person, but still. Makes you wonder.

    • Meaghan April 11, 2011 / 7:05 pm

      I’m more (un)convinced by the “body left out in the truck for days without anyone noticing a thing” bit than by the “she would have never used drugs” bit, for the reasons you just stated.

  2. Dust April 11, 2011 / 8:48 pm

    Disgusting.How many of these freaks,that “paid” for their crimes,do we live/work amongst on a daily basis?.!Our society is in dier straights.

  3. Dust April 11, 2011 / 8:49 pm


  4. Kat April 11, 2011 / 9:13 pm

    Didn’t they just release Herzog or something too? Suspect in the Chevy Wheeler case and convicted with his buddy for other crimes? There was a big stink about that too, back months ago….I wonder what happened. Or, when he will be back in the news again. And in answer to Dust, more than you would think.

  5. Celeste April 12, 2011 / 9:56 am

    Mrs Jou should do everything that she can to keep the man who killed her daughter behind bars. This is disgusting and shameful.

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