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Family speaks out about sex offender's release from prison

April 15, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
A sex offender convicted in the death of an Orange County college student was released from prison Friday and transferred to county jail. The family of the victim, who many believe was murdered, spoke out about his release from state prison and demanded justice.

"Justice system has failed us over and over and over from the beginning," said the girl's mother Nila Jou.

It's been four years since Donna Jou was drugged and then dumped in the ocean, but her body was never found.

John Burgess, 41, was released from prison after serving two years of a five-year prison term and was transferred into the custody of the L.A. County Sheriff's Department at 2:20 p.m. to serve time for a misdemeanor.

Burgess had met Donna Jou, 19, though a Craigslist ad she posted offering services as a math tutor in 2007. He told police that she came to his house for a party, where he gave her various drugs including heroin, cocaine and alcohol. The next morning, he said he woke up and found Donna Jou dead.

She was a student at San Diego State University at the time.

Burgess pleaded guilty to one count of involuntary manslaughter and one misdemeanor count of concealing an accidental death.

Prison officials say Burgess served half his sentence because of good behavior. With an overcrowded prison system, it's not uncommon for state prisoners to be released after serving only half their sentences.

Jou's family is outraged with the early release, calling it a slap on the wrist for the death of their daughter. They say the case needs to be reopened. They do not believe Burgess' account of what happened.

"There is no word in the dictionary to define the extent of my frustration, my grief, my anger," said Donna Jou's father Reza Jou. "This is beyond my worst nightmare."

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