MAYVILLE – The second of two men connected to the murder of Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra violinist Mary Whitaker has pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.
Chautauqua County District Attorney David Foley says 44 year-old Jonathan Conklin pleaded guilty to the charge on Monday. Conklin’s trial was scheduled to begin in January. He’ll now be sentenced on March 10 in county court and faces 25 years to life in prison.
In October, Conklin also pleaded guilty to carjacking in the U.S. District Court in Buffalo.
In September, the other person involved in the murder – 31 year-old Charles Sanford – also pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. He will be sentenced on Feb. 29 and faces 15 years to life in state prison.
Conklin and Sanford – who were both from Erie – allegedly went to Whitaker’s summer residence in the town of Westfield during the early morning of Aug. 20, 2014, shooting and stabbing her, and then robbing her home.
After leaving Whitaker for dead and making off with her credit cards and vehicle, the two men returned to Erie. Her body was discovered by a friend later that day. Both Conklin and Sanford were arrested in Erie two days later following an investigation.