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Man is charged in shooting death of friend

A Sheridan man has been charged with manslaughter in the shooting death of a friend following a five-month investigation, state police said Friday.

A Chautauqua County grand jury recently indicted Thomas D. Rell, 53, on charges of second-degree manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide in the Oct. 17 slaying.

Alan R. Kilburn, 26, also of Sheridan, was shot once in the chest with a long rifle, owned and wielded by Rell, at about 5 p.m. that day while he was visiting his friend's home in the town, according to State Police Senior Investigator Greg Holt and previous state police statements. Kilburn was pronounced dead at the scene.

State police and Chautauqua County District Attorney David W. Foley investigated the shooting.

Investigators had to wait for the Central Police Services laboratory to process evidence from the scene, and determining Rell's culpability in the shooting was tricky, Holt said.

"I don't want to call it an accident. But, like I said, I don't believe it was Mr. Rell's intent to shoot him," Holt said.

He declined to comment on whether alcohol or drugs played a role.

Holt referred further questions on the fatal shooting to Foley, who was out of the office Friday afternoon and did not return messages left with his staff.

Rell was arraigned before Chautauqua County Judge John Ward and sent to Chautauqua County Jail in lieu of $50,000 bail.

e-mail: swatson@buffnews.com

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