Chautauqua County hunter sentenced for killing woman he mistook for a deer

Jan 14, 2019

A Chautauqua County hunter who accidentally shot and killed a woman who was walking her dogs in November of 2017 has been sentenced to one to three years in state prison.

A county court judge handed down the sentence to Thomas Jadlowski Monday morning. Jadlowski, 33, pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide last October. He admitted to firing his pistol after the legal close of hunting hours on November 22, 2017, causing the death of Rosemary Billquist, 43, a resident of the Town of Sherman.

Jadlowski said he mistook the woman for a deer. Upon hearing a scream and realizing his mistake, he located Billquist and called 911. She was taken to a hospital in Erie, PA, where she later died.

Prosecutors say Billquist's death was a preventable tragedy and Jadlowski has accepted responsibility. The victim’s husband, Jamie Billquist, said he hopes the tragedy will serve as reminder to hunters of what can happen when basic rules are not followed.

“This has never been about vengeance. That is not what Rosie would have wanted," said Billquist. "From the beginning I wanted the defendant to take responsibility and be held accountable. I want the next hunter who thinks about shooting after hours to think, ‘There was this guy that went to prison. I should just go home.’"

Chautauqua County District Attorney Patrick Swanson says the plea and sentence came following much consultation with Jamie Billquist. He echoed Billquist's desire to prevent similar preventable deaths in the future.

"This tragedy serves as a reminder that hunting with guns carries an expansive set of responsibilities, most, if not all, of which are designed to protect people. Simple rules were not followed by Mr. Jadlowski and because of his actions two families and entire communities have suffered," said Chautauqua County District Attorney Patrick Swanson.