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Press Release

Two Men Indicted in Connection with Murder in Chautauqua County

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of New York

BUFFALO, N.Y. – U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that a federal grand jury has indicted Jonathan Conklin, 43, and Charles Sanford, 30, on charges of carjacking, use of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence and felon in possession of a firearm. The charges carry a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison, a maximum sentence of life, and a fine of $250,000.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy C. Lynch, who is handling the case, stated that according to the indictment, Conklin and Sanford robbed Mary Whitaker inside her Sherman, NY home on August 20, 2014. Soon after Whitaker answered the door at her home, the defendants shot and killed her. The defendants then stole her vehicle and drove it to Erie, Pennsylvania, where they were arrested on August 22, 2014.

The defendants, who are detained, will be arraigned on September 9, 2014 at 10:00 a.m.

The indictment is the culmination of an investigation on the part of the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Sheriff Joseph A. Gerace, the Chautauqua County District Attorney’s Office, under the direction of District Attorney David W. Foley, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the City of Erie (Pennsylvania) Police Department, under the direction of Chief Randy M. Bowers.

The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.


Updated November 19, 2014