MAYVILLE – Chautauqua County District Attorney Patrick Swanson declined to comment specifically on a recent report’s claim that a ballistics report was never completed in the tragic shooting death of Sherman woman Rosemary Billquist.
During an interview with WNYNewsNow Thursday afternoon, Swanson said police must recover a bullet from a scene to conduct a ballistics report. The County’s top prosecutor said that doesn’t always occur.
“All I can tell you about ballistics is that, to compare a bullet to a gun, you have to recover a bullet,” Swanson said. “A frequent problem in many crime scenes involving a shooting is that, because the projectile is moving so fast, it’s not recovered scene.”
“It’s not abnormal to not find a bullet, therefore you can not do any ballistic testing.”
The report also said that Swanson never seriously considered prosecuting Thomas Jadlowski for second-degree manslaughter. Swanson refuted that statement.
“Absolutely not, that’s so inaccurate,” Swanson said. “Whenever we indict a case, we’re willing to go to trial on that case if we can’t reach a resolution that we are happy with. Every single time. That does not change. Ever.”
Swanson reiterated that Jadlowski was originally charged and indicted on second-degree manslaughter, which is based on reckless conduct. Swanson said, however, that a reduction was made based on the wishes of Billquist’s husband, Jamie.
“We were always going to be pleased with the prison sentence, and we could achieve that, whether he plead guilty to criminally negligent homicide or manslaughter, and our victims’ family is at least comfortable with the resolution,” Swanson said. “For us, if we could get a commitment to state prison time, it was something that we were hoping to accomplish for our victims and their families.”
“This has never been about vengeance. That is not what Rosie would have wanted,” Jamie Billquist said in a post-sentencing release. “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.’”
Jadlowski, who previously plead guilty to criminally negligent homicide, was sentenced Monday to an indeterminate sentence of 1-3 years in state prison. He will also be banned by the Department of Environmental Conservation from being allowed to purchase a hunting license.