Clovis man's killer could be released from prison

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- It's been 35 years since a young man was lured from his Clovis home and tortured to death in the Fresno County foothills. This Friday, his killer may go free.

The family of Michael Morganti, 20, is asking Gov. Jerry Brown to keep convicted killer David Weidert in prison. Weidert's release was approved by the state parole board in January, and the victim's family has been fighting that decision ever since. They say Morganti had developmental disabilities that made him vulnerable.

Michael Morganti is seen in this photo.

If Weidert is granted parole, they fear he may hurt someone else. Morganti's mother and sister are asking people to call the governor's office to demand Weidert stay in prison.

Vikki VanDuyne, the victim's sister, said, "It's like he doesn't even remember who Mike was or what he did to him, over hours. He made Mike dig his own grave. Think of your little brother or your little cousin or your little nephew, being taken out and asked to dig his own grave and then beaten, stabbed, and strangled and buried alive over hours. That's Mike."

Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims has joined the family in opposing Weidert's parole.

If the governor reverses the parole board's decision, Weidert could eventually be up for parole again. Morganti's family plans to work with Fresno County District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp to reinstate Weidert's original sentence: that of life in prison with no possibility of parole.

Click here to visit the Justice for Mike Morganti website.
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