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Criminal charges being considered against Sherman hunter who mistook woman for deer

The Chautauqua County district attorney is considering criminal charges against a Sherman man being investigated for fatally shooting a woman who was walking her dogs.

Rosemary Billquist, 43, died after being shot in the hip Wednesday in the hunting accident, according to her husband, Jamie Billquist.

Thomas Jadlowski, 34, told investigators with the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office that he thought Rosemary Billquist was a deer when he opened fire. When he heard a scream, he ran to her, called 911 and put pressure on her wounds, investigators said. Investigators said the shooting occurred after sunset, a violation of state hunting regulations.

DA Patrick Swanson said Monday that he would be meeting with representatives from the Sheriff's Office and the state Department of Environmental Conservation during the day to discuss the case.

If criminal charges are filed against Jadlowski, Swanson said, they would be either second-degree manslaughter based on reckless conduct causing death or criminally negligent homicide. Second-degree manslaughter is a C-level felony with a maximum sentence of five to 15 years in prison. Criminally negligent homicide is an E-level felony with a maximum sentence of up to four years.

Swanson said he could not say whether the case would be brought before a grand jury, but that if it was, that information would not be made public until an arraignment.

He also said the investigation showed Jadlowski was more than 200 yards away from Billquist when he fired his gun.

The district attorney added that the weapon used in the shooting was a Thompson/Center Contender, which is technically a handgun but "essentially a rifle." The firearm, a single-shot weapon, is classified as a pistol because it has a barrel length just under that of a rifle, Swanson said.

Investigators have the weapon believed to have been used in the shooting, Swanson said. No other weapons have been seized in connection with the case, he said. "That wouldn't happen until there's a proceeding," Swanson said.

Husband of hunting accident victim: 'Her life was cut way too short'

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