A registered sex offender who spent time behind bars for the 2007 death of a college coed from Rancho Santa Margarita was sentenced Wednesday to four more years in state prison after pleading no contest to possession of ammunition.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Craig Richman imposed the maximum sentence on John Steven Burgess, 40, who was released from prison just under a year ago. He served roughly half of a five-year term stemming from his guilty plea to involuntary manslaughter and a misdemeanor count of concealment of an accidental death in connection with the June 2007 disappearance of Donna Jou.
Jou's mother, Nili, told the judge that Burgess "needs to be in prison"' and said she thinks her daughter -- who was a San Diego State University student -- may still be alive somewhere.
At a May 2009 hearing in which he pleaded no contest in connection with Jou's death, Burgess said he had given the young woman drugs after meeting her through an advertisement on craigslist.com and that he panicked after she overdosed.
He said he went to his sailboat and "gave her to the sea." Despite an extensive search, her body has never been found.
In urging the judge to impose the maximum four-year term, Deputy District Attorney Bobby Grace noted that Burgess placed an ad on craigslist.com after he was paroled to the Hollywood area that advertised for free rent in exchange for cleaning and other errands. One of the conditions of Burgess' parole had been not to place any classified ads or to use a computer to start a relationship with anyone, the prosecutor said.
Two women Burgess eventually met later learned his true identity and contacted authorities, who found the ammunition during a parole search, Grace said.
"He still hasn't learned his lesson," the prosecutor said of Burgess, who was arrested July 23 by the Los Angeles Police Department's Hollywood Division and has remained jailed since then.
--City News Service