Man admits killing violinist,to testify in trial

Posted at 3:56 PM, Oct 01, 2015
and last updated 2015-10-01 15:56:05-04

One of the men accused of killing a violinist in Chautauqua County has pleaded guilty to second degree murder and will testify against his alleged accomplice.

Mary Whitaker, a New York City resident, was shot and killed inside her Titus Road home in Westfield last August.

Jonathan Conklin, 43, and Charles Sanford, 30, were charged with her murder. Sanford has pleaded guilty to second degree murder and faces a sentence of 15 years to life in prison. He will testify against Conklin.

According to a federal criminal complaint, Sanford told prosecutors Conklin shot the 61-year-old violinist after asking to use her phone when she answered the door. He told federal authorities that Conklin insisted he cut her throat as Whitaker lay dying on the floor of her garage.

Whittaker spent her summers in Western New York performing with the Chautauqua Symphony for the last 36 seasons.




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