Law enforcement officials urge Governor Brown to block parole of convicted murderer David Weidert

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The man convicted of torturing and killing a Clovis man with special needs was granted parole for the second time in three years.

It's been 38 years since the death of Michael Morganti, but that case is still fresh to law enforcement agencies here in Valley.

A state board approved parole for Morganti's killer, David Weidert, in March. Now his fate is in the Governor's hands.

Local law enforcement officials, including District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp, are urging Governor Jerry Brown to block his parole.

In a letter to the Governor, Sheriff Margaret Mims describes the murder as barbaric and one of the most heinous crimes she's heard of in her 38-year law enforcement career, "the coroner's report shows there was dirt in his lungs. So we know that he was trying to take breaths after he had been buried."

It was 1980 when David Weidert and an accomplice murdered Morganti, to make sure he didn't testify in a burglary case against them. The mentally challenged 20-year-old was lured, into a car, from his Clovis home and taken to the Foothills where he was forced to dig his own grave.

Sheriff Mims says, "they put him in the hole, started covering him up, they stabbed him, put a wire around his neck, and they tried to choke him... They hit him with a baseball bat, and they were pushing him down with the edge of the shovel."

Chief Jerry Dyer says public safety would be in jeopardy should Weidert walk free, "the Morganti family has already suffered enough. They do not need to have this individual back in society and relive what they went through before. But more importantly, we don't want another victim at the hands of David Weidert."

Governor Brown has until August to decide whether to overturn the Board of Parole Hearings decision.

The Weidert family and their attorney haven't returned our request for comment.
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