Donna Jou killer gets four years in prison on ammunition charge
A sex offender convicted of killing a San Diego State University nursing student was sentenced to four years in prison Wednesday after pleading no contest to being a felon in possession of ammunition, officials said.
Judge Craig Richman handed down the maximum sentence to John Steven Burgess, 40, the L.A. County district attorney's office said. Police said they discovered the ammunition during an investigation into a Craigslist ad Burgess posted looking for roommates.
Two women answered the ad, which Burgess posted after he was released from prison on parole in December. After learning his true identity, prosecutors said, the women called police.
Burgess pleaded guilty in 2009 to involuntary manslaughter in the 2007 death of honor student Donna Jou, who he claimed died of a drug overdose. He said he panicked and dumped her body in the ocean "quite a ways" off the Southern California coast. It has never been found.
Under a plea deal, Burgess was sentenced to five years in prison. He served half the sentence and was released in December.
Burgess met Jou through Craigslist, authorities said.
When arguing the ammunition case, Deputy Dist. Atty. Bobby Grace said Burgess also violated the terms of his parole "by using social media sites and computers to meet women," the district attorney's office said.
"He still hasn't learned his lesson," Grace said when asking for the maximum sentence.
— Kate Mather
Photo: John Steven Burgess during his arraignment in the slaying of nursing student Donna Jou in 2009. Credit: Christine Cotter / Los Angeles Times