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Man convicted in Donna Jou's death set to be released

December 7, 2011 |  1:51 pm

Nili Jou
A sex offender sentenced in the death of 19-year-old coed Donna Jou is set to be released from jail  Wednesday, but the woman's mother is asking prosecutors to reopen the investigation.

John Steven "Sinjin" Burgess pleaded guilty in 2009 to involuntary manslaughter in the disappearance and death of the San Diego State nursing student.

Under a plea deal, the 41-year old Burgess was sentenced to five years. In April, Burgess was released from state custody in Chico after serving two years.

He was then taken into custody in Los Angeles County. He is due to be released from jail Wednesday after serving half his sentence.

The Rancho Santa Margarita teenager died of a drug overdose in June 2007, Burgess says. He says he panicked and dumped her body in the ocean; it has never been recovered.

The L.A. district attorney's office has closed the investigation, but a $15,000 reward for credible information about the case is still outstanding.

Jou's mother, Nili Jou, says she doesn't believe Burgess' story and is petitioning the district attorney to reopen the investigation.


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Photo: Nili Jou holds a photo of her daughter, Donna,  during a news conference Wednesday in downtown Los Angeles. Credit:  Christina House / For The Times