Arrest in 1972 murder of Pennsylvania wrestler

A 47-year-old unsolved murder of a former Pennsylvania wrestler appears to be closer to being a "closed case."

An Ohio prison inmate has been charged in the 1972 shooting death of a wrestler who once competed at an Allentown high school then at Lycoming College, the Allentown Morning Call reported this weekend.

The inmate, Larry Joseph Via, 75, has been charged with homicide and robbery in the death of Morgan Peters whose body was found on the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Sept. 1972. The charges are the result of a grand jury investigation that began two years ago.

The apparent tip-off: Via had written of the crime in biker magazines, according to Ohio authorities.

Via is currently an inmate at Marion Correctional Institution in north-central Ohio, on a life sentence for another murder which apparently occurred about the same time as Peters' death.

Morgan Peters
A 1960 graduate of what is now Allen High School, Peters was a star wrestler who won a 1960 district championship for the Allentown-based school. He then continued his athletic and academic career at Lycoming College in Williamsport, Pa., where he was a 1961 Middle Atlantic Conference champ.

Fast-forward a decade, to the fall of 1972. Peters, then 29, worked for a wrestling mat manufacturer, and was on his way to an installation in Latrobe, Pa. Two motorists found Peters' body behind bushes at a pulloff near the Willow Hill exit near Chambersburg, according to the Morning Call. Peters' truck was found nearly 20 miles down the Turnpike.

In 2017, a woman who claimed to have ridden with Via on the Turnpike back in 1972 told police that they pulled over pretending to have car trouble. Peters reportedly pulled in behind them, the Franklin County Free Press reported Saturday. Via got out, disappeared for a time, then came running back, telling her "We gotta go!" Via reportedly drove the vehicle he picked up behind the woman's car for a distance, then returned to her vehicle, abandoning the other vehicle.

The crime which put Via in an Ohio prison took place in northeast Ohio, and bears some resemblance to what may have happened to Morgan Peters back in 1972.

What's more, Via's ex-wives told police that he had written poems and short stories for Easy Rider magazine in the 1980s which resemble some of the crimes for which he is currently incarcerated.


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