Family of mentally disabled Fresno man plan news conference to stop killer’s parole

The family of murder victim Mike Morganti, a 20-year-old mentally disabled Fresno man who in late 1980 was beaten, choked, stabbed and buried alive, is planning a Sacramento news conference next Wednesday to ask Gov. Jerry Brown to overturn a state Board of Parole Hearings decision to release the killer.

In late January, the parole board recommended the release of David Weidert from the Correctional Training Facility in Soledad.

Morganti’s family has consistently fought Weidert’s release, and now they are making a direct plea to Brown, the last person who can stop Weidert’s parole. The premeditated murder was committed because Weidert feared Morganti would testify against him for a burglary that Weidert committed earlier in the year.

Joining Weidert’s sister Vikki Van Duyne and his mother Kathryn Groves at the news conference will be Fresno County District Attorney Lisa A. Smittcamp, state Sens. Cathleen Galgiani, a Stockton Democrat, and Andy Vidak, a Hanford Republican, as well as crime victim and disability advocates. The news conference is scheduled for 11 a.m. on the north steps of the state Capitol.

Already, several organizations and elected officials have written letters to Brown urging him to overturn the parole board’s decision.