Donna Jou
Donna Jou
Courtesy of Jou family

John Burgess To Be Sentenced; Donna Jou's Family To Send Letter To Craiglist

A press release sent out this weekend by lawyer Gloria Allred notifies us that John Steven Burgess, the man who plead guilty to manslaughter and concealing an accidental death in the case of Rancho Santa Margarita's Donna Jou, faces sentencing in Los Angeles Superior Court today at 1:30 p.m. As part of his plea agreement, Burgess is expected to face five years in state prison.

[Update, 5/19: Burgess was sentenced to five years. Read more at the LA Times.]

Additionally, the Jou family will release a letter that they plan to send to Craigslist founder Craig Newmark. The letter will be "suggesting specific changes in the policy and practice of Craigslist, which could help to prevent other convicted sexual predators from being able to use Craigslist to contact unsuspecting young women such as Donna Jou."

No additional information is provided as to what exactly that could mean. But Allred recently spoke to the Weekly about Craigslist. Then, she said that Craigslist should implement some sort of screening system that will either block convicted sex offenders from the site, or flag their posts with a warning message.

When Burgess plead guilty on May 6, he said that he had injected 19-year-old Donna Jou with a "speedball" of heroin and cocaine during a party at his home in Los Angeles in June 2007. When he awoke the next morning, he found her dead. In a panic, he says he took her body out to sea and dropped it off the side of his sailboat. Burgess had previously been convicted for lewd acts against a child, and in October 2007 was convicted for failing to register as a sex offender. He refused to speak with law enforcement about the Jou case while serving time for the failure-to-register conviction.

The Jou family request to Craigslist comes less than a week after Craigslist it announced it would bend to criticism from law enforcement around the country by eliminating its "erotic services" section. Jou and Burgess reportedly met on Craiglist, when Burgess answered Jou's ad offering her services as a math tutor.


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