Two Suspects In Custody For Westfield Homicide

MAYVILLE – Two suspects allegedly involved in the murder of Westfield resident Mary E. Whitaker, 61, were taken into custody Friday and now face a potential life sentence.

At a press conference held Friday at the Chautauqua Municipal Building in Mayville, Joseph Gerace, Chautauqua County sheriff, indicated that Jonathan M. Conklin, 43, and Charles Sanford, 30, were both apprehended separately in Erie, Pa., by Erie police officers after investigators traced Whitaker’s vehicle and used credit cards in the Pennsylvania city.

Conklin, who already had outstanding arrest warrants for grand larceny, has an unknown home address, police said. Sanford is an Erie resident.

Gerace further indicated that Whitaker was shot twice, in the chest and leg.

Motive for the murder is still not determined.

The two suspects face three charges, according to U.S. Attorney Hochul, who spoke at the press conference: stolen property across state lines, car jacking with murder across state lines and use of a firearm. The second charge has a maximum sentence of life in prison.