Hunter Charged With Manslaughter in Death of Woman He Believed Was a Deer

Rosemary Billquist and Thomas Jadlowski
Facebook/Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office

Thomas Jadlowski, 34, has been charged with second-degree manslaughter in the death of 43-year-old Rosemary Billquist.

A New York hunter has been charged in the shooting death of a neighbor whom he allegedly mistook for a deer.

Thomas Jadlowski, 34, was indicted by a grand jury on charges of second-degree manslaughter Thursday, about a week after the death of 43-year-old Rosemary Billquist.

Billquist was walking her dogs in a field near her home at about 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 22 when she was shot in the hip, according to the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office.

When deputies arrived at the scene, Jadlowski reportedly told them he was the one who had pulled the trigger.

He said he thought Billquist was a deer and fired his pistol from about 200 yards away, according to reports. When he heard a scream, he ran in the direction of the sound and discovered Billquist. 

Jadlowski called 911 and tried to save her by applying pressure to the bullet wound until first responders arrived. Billquist was later pronounced dead at UPMC Hamot in Erie, Pa.

Jadlowski has also been charged with hunting after hours, as it was reportedly past sunset when the shot was fired.

Chautauqua District Attorney Patrick Swanson said Billquist’s death in a small community where “everybody knows everybody” was “completely avoidable.”

He added that hunters have a responsibility to exercise caution and restraint when they can't determine exactly what they’re shooting at.

“If you don’t know what it is, you shouldn’t pull the trigger,” Swanson said. 

Jadlowski pleaded not guilty to the charges, and was held on $50,000 cash bail. He is due back in court on Jan. 29. 

If convicted, Jadlowski faces five to 15 years in prison. Information about his legal representation was not immediately available.