California Man Convicted for Burying Man Alive Granted Parole

By Vanessa Serna
Vanessa Serna
Vanessa Serna
August 18, 2021 Updated: August 19, 2021

A 58-year-old Central Valley man, who was convicted for torturing and burying a man alive in the town of Clovis, California, in 1980, was granted parole after serving almost 41 years in state prison.

In November 1980, David Weidert, who was 17 years old, tortured, stabbed, and beat 20-year-old Mike Morganti for nearly an hour before forcing him to dig his own grave he would be buried alive in.

After years of not being eligible for parole, Weidert’s fate changed on April 8, 2021, at his hearing.

“The board has concluded that Mr. Weidert does not pose a current unreasonable risk to public safety,” Gov. Gavin Newsom’s spokesperson Erin Mellon told The Epoch Times. “In all cases, the Governor is committed to ensuring that victims have input in the parole hearing process and receive the support and services they need.”

As Weidert is nearly a free man, Mellon assures the Governor has taken no action on Weidert’s parole grant.

While the parole board has agreed Weidert is no longer a threat, prosecutors beg to differ.

“He doesn’t deserve to be out,” Fresno County District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp told The Epoch Times. “He hasn’t done anything inside of the prison system to suggest that he’s ready to function. The type of crime he committed is so heinous, so callous, and so disturbing that he’s just a person who needs to remain in custody.”

According to Smittcamp, Weidert is on parole in the county of San Francisco and is on a six-month parole program where he is housed.

“The district attorney’s office opposed the parole … we have been fighting this for years,” Smittcamp said. “We don’t have a role in this. The parole board and the Governor did not block it. The Governor had the ability and the authority to block it, he had done that before and so had Jerry Brown, two times.”

Back in 2016 and 2018, former Gov. Jerry Brown blocked Weidert’s chance of receiving parole with Gov. Gavin Newsom following in 2019. During those previous attempts, Weidert refused to take responsibility for his actions in 1980.

By taking responsibility for his actions this time around at the parole hearing, Weidert became eligible, Smittcamp explained.

“It’s shameful about the way that the board works now, starting with Jerry Brown and now with Newsom,” she said. “The way the law is, they don’t have the ability to consider the egregiousness of the facts. It’s literally just a dumping of the prisons. They want people out if [they’ve] been in for a certain amount of years.”

The day Weidert was granted parole, the district attorney’s office and Morganti’s family were not made aware of the decision until after it was made by the board.  Smittcamp explained it was Morganti’s sister in Colorado that made the decision known to her office.

“The Governor’s office doesn’t even do their due diligence to notify us, which is not the way the law is supposed to go,” Smittcamp said. “It’s the wild west with Gavin Newsom. He just does what he wants. His goal is to empty the prison. He’s going to empty the prison.”

The Epoch Times reached out to Weidert’s attorney, Charles Carbone, but didn’t receive a comment before deadline.

Vanessa Serna
Vanessa Serna