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Friday, August 22, 2014

Arrests Made in Westfield Killing

Two men have been charged in connection to the death of a violinist with the Chautauqua Symphony.

43-year-old Jonathan Conklin and 30-year-old Charles Sanford were arrested this afternoon in Erie, where the car of 61-year-old Mary Whitaker was found earlier in the day. She was shot to death Tuesday and found in her Westfield home on Wednesday.

Conklin and Sanford face federal charges of stealing property and crossing state lines, carjacking, and use of a firearm during a crime of violence.

The pair will also face state charges, which will be determined by a grand jury. This is where a possible murder charge would come in.

US Attorney William Hochul said the pair face life in prison. He said he will be asking a judge to keep them in jail without bail while they await further court proceedings.

“I can sure the Whitaker family, friends that we will do everything in power to make sure neither of these two men ever again walk free from any sort of confinement,” Hochul said during a news conference.

Whitaker spent the last 36 summers in Western New York performing with the Chautauqua Symphony. Her primary home was in Manhattan, and she performed with the Westchester Philharmonic.

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