MAYVILLE – Acting Chautauqua County District Attorney Patrick Swanson announced Wednesday afternoon that one of the two men involved in the 2014 murder of Mary Whitaker has been sentenced to 25 years in state prison.
Swanson says 45 year-old Jonathan Conklin of Sherman was sentenced by Judge Richard C. Kloch to an indeterminate sentence of at least 25 years in state prison and a maximum of life in prison after being convicted of 2nd degree murder.
Following the sentence, Swanson offered his thanks to the agencies that assisted in the swift capture, and the prosecution of Conklin and his accomplice Charles Sanford.
“For his senseless act, I expect Mr. Conklin to live out the remainder of his days in prison,” Swanson said in a prepared statement. “Mary Whitaker was an amazing woman. No one deserves to exit our world in the manner she did. Our thoughts are with her family and friends as they hopefully can move forward remembering the amazing person she was.”
Swanson also said that this was a case that originated under former District Attorney David Foley, adding that he and the entire DA staff did an amazing job prosecuting this case.
“I know [Foley] would have wanted to thank the Sheriff and the Sheriff’s office for their fast response, the Forensic Investigation Team (F.I.T.) for their efforts at the crime scene, the local FBI branch that we are so fortunate to have here in Chautauqua County, the Erie, Pennsylvania Police department, and the US Attorney’s office headed up by the US Attorney for the Western District of New York, William J. Hochul, Jr.,” Swanson said.
The sentencing is the culmination of the investigation and prosecution connected to the August 2014 death of Mary Whitaker, who was found murdered in her town of Westfield home, located just outside of Sherman. The murder took place as Conklin and co-defendant Sanford attempted to burglarize Whitaker’s home on Titus road.
Sanford faces 15 years to life in state prison and will appear in county court for his sentencing on Friday.
The two also pleaded guilty to federal charges last fall, connected to the possession of a firearm and carjacking. Each carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. The pair are also reported to be sentenced for the federal charges in Buffalo on Thursday.