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Suspect held in Freedom slaying

A Rushford man is accused of shooting to death a Salamanca man in a Town of Freedom home late Monday.

Robert Secrist, 26, is charged with the slaying of Tharin Jimerson, 33, of Old Route 17, Salamanca, said Cattaraugus County sheriff's deputies, who arrested the suspect early Tuesday.

Jimerson was shot in the chest with a .22-caliber rifle as he talked with Krista L. Brown, 27, in her home at 2541 California Hill Road, just before midnight Monday, Undersheriff Timothy S. Whitcomb said.

Brown summoned authorities at 11:57 p.m., and deputies recovered the weapon at the scene, authorities said.

"We believe that Mr. Secrist is the ex-boyfriend of Krista Brown," Whitcomb said. "They were inside in a bedroom, talking, and the shot came from outside, through a screen."

Police responding to the scene of the crime stopped a car leaving the driveway and arrested the suspect. During what deputies said was a "tense" exchange, two occupants of the car obeyed orders to lie on the ground. Secrist was armed with a knife and had to be restrained, Whitcomb said.

Secrist was arraigned on a second-degree murder charge in Olean City Court Tuesday and was being held without bail in Cattaraugus County Jail pending a preliminary hearing Thursday. Authorities said he already has a criminal record.

At the time of the shooting, two girls -- the children of Secrist and Brown -- were outside of the house in a tent. Brown reportedly had looked in on the girls shortly before the shooting.

Brown and Secrist broke up in early 2002, according to District Attorney Edward M. Sharkey. He added that Jimerson had an order of protection against the suspect.

In February, Secrist received a conditional discharge in Freedom Town Court on a charge of second-degree aggravated harassment because of an incident involving both Brown and Jimerson, authorities said.

Police from Arcade and Franklinville departments assisted in the investigation.

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