JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It started innocently enough, with a woman getting to know and deciding to meet up with a man she met on Match.com and only knew as "Johnny." But what she later found out was rather surprising.
"We just met on Match. I mean, he just messaged me," said the woman, who didn't want to be identified. "He is an attractive guy. He seems very intelligent, the way he comes across."
They met at a restaurant for lunch, then decided to go for a walk in the park.
"I couldn't read him," she said. "And usually I am a pretty good judge of character, but I couldn't really get a feel for who he was. I felt like something -- he was covering up something."
They sat down to talk and enjoy the wine and fruit he brought. Then things took a turn.
"He had taken the wine out of his bag, and I could see that he had already uncorked the wine," the woman said.
From there, the woman followed him to his house, went inside, but left shortly after.
"Now I look back on it, question what was I thinking for me to drive to this man's house," she said.
Days later she decided to do a little research on her date and discovered "Johnny" was John Burgess (pictured below), a registered sex offender who had been convicted of involuntary manslaughter in connection with the 2007 death of a 19-year-old woman he met on Craigslist.
"I just had an anxiety attack," she said.
News4Jax crime and safety analyst Gil Smith said checking the background of a person met on any dating website is a must. And on the first date, be especially proactive.
"You go out someplace where you're going to be public and people all around, and I would strongly recommend that you get his identification, driver's license, some type of state ID," Smith said.
It's a lesson the woman has learned and now wants to share.
"He is very charming, and like I said, he's intelligent and good-looking, and I could definitely see other women meeting him for lunch and then agreeing to, you know, continue the date somewhere else, which is very scary to me," she said.
The woman told Match.com what happened. It offers this information on its website: "We don't conduct criminal background checks on our users, so if you would like more information about someone, we recommend using the Internet and government resources available to everyone."