Men Charged in Musician's Death Appear in Federal Court

August 28, 2014 Updated Aug 28, 2014 at 1:06 PM EDT

By WKBW News

August 28, 2014 Updated Aug 28, 2014 at 1:06 PM EDT

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) - Jonathan Conklin and Charles Sanford appeared in federal court in Buffalo this morning, wearing black and gray stripped prisoner jumpsuits.

The two men face the possibility of the death penalty in this federal case, although the ultimate decision is with a federal grand jury and the U.S. Attorney General.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Kenneth Shroeder, Jr. ordered both held without bail.

The two men face a number of charges, two of which are directly related to the murder of Mary Whitaker.

Whitaker, a violinist, was shot to death at her Westfield, Chautauqua County home on August 20th during a robbery attempt.

The criminal complaint charges Conklin and Sanford with carjacking Whitaker's car and using a firearm to allegedly commit that crime.

Both charges carry a maximum of life behind bars, but the federal death penalty is possible.

Whitaker answered the door, according to prosecutors, and Sanford asked to use her telephone saying he was having car trouble.

Conklin then allegedly ambushed her, shooting her twice.

Sanford then stabbed Whitaker in the throat, prosecutors said.

Both defense lawyers asked for a preliminary hearing, which was scheduled for September 9 at 10 a.m.

State murder charges are being pursued in Chautauqua County where a grand jury is already hearing evidence.

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