As many know, Local 802 member Mary Whitaker was murdered on Aug. 20, 2014 at her home in Chautauqua, New York. She was only 61 when she was killed and she had been a member since 1976. (Search the Allegro archives for extensive tributes we published in honor of Mary.)
Now, the two murderers are coming to trial in February, and both have pled guilty. The courts are accepting “Pre-Sentencing Victim’s Impact Statements,” written by people who were affected by Mary’s death. The letters should be submitted immediately.
The first trial will be in federal court in Rochester. After federal sentencing, the second trial will be in state court in Mayville, New York. Below are instructions for submitting letters.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR LETTER #1: (PERTAINING TO THE STATE CASE)
1. Compose one letter (“Pre-Sentencing Victim’s Impact Statement”) to be used for each of the two defendants, Jonathan Conklin and Charles Sanford. The content of the letters should be the same, but one should pertain to Conklin and the other to Sanford.
2. The letters should explain your feelings on the following:
a. The effect of the crime on yourself, your family, your friends, your colleagues, etc.
b. What has been lost or taken from you, like trust, feelings of safety, etc.
c. How your life has changed as a result of the crime.
d. The emotional impact of the crime on your life and the community.
e. Any other pertinent information.
f. You can request the maximum sentence for the two defendants.
3. These two letters should each be addressed to The Honorable Richard Kloch and mailed to Valerie A. Rettig, Chautauqua County District Attorney, Coordinator of the Victim Assistance Center, 1 North Erie Street, Mayville, NY 14757.
4. Write the name of the defendant (Jonathan Conklin or Charles Sanford) on the bottom left front of each envelope. Make sure you sign your letters. The letters must be received by Feb. 8.
5. Both Conklin and Sanford have pled guilty to the state charge of second degree murder. They face 15 years to life. In your letter, you may recommend that the defendants receive the maximum sentence without parole.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR LETTER #2: (PERTAINING TO THE FEDERAL CASE)
1. Use the same letters as above (i.e. one each for Jonathan Conklin and Charles Sanford).
2. Mail your two letters to The Honorable William Skretny, U.S. Attorney’s Office, ATTN: Kim Pettit, 100 State Street, Suite 500, Rochester, NY 14614.
3. As above, write the name of the defendant (Jonathan Conklin or Charles Sanford) on the bottom left front of each envelope. Make sure you sign your letters.
4. The letters must be received by Feb. 14.
5. In these federal charges, Conklin is accused of the federal crime of carjacking, which carries a possible sentence of 25 years. Sanford is accused of unlawfully possessing a gun and conspiring to transport a car across state lines; he faces a sentence of 15 years. In your letter, you may recommend that the defendants receive the maximum sentences. There is no parole for federal crimes.
There will also be a third set of letters to be sent to the New York State parole board. Information on this will be forthcoming.