Swanson Gave Hunter Jadlowski Fair Sentence

There are many county residents expressing disappointment with Patrick Swanson, county district attorney, for the plea agreement reached last week in the case of a Sherman man who shot and killed a neighbor while hunting after dark on Nov. 22, 2017.

The complaints are largely the same — that Thomas Jadlowski should serve longer than between one and four years in prison for the death of Rosemary Billquist. Jadlowski had been indicted by a Chautauqua County Grand Jury on a charge of second-degree manslaughter, which carries a minimum of between one and three years in prison and a maximum of between five and 15 years in prison. For some, allowing Jadlowski to plead guilty to a lesser charge of criminally negligent homicide and hunting after hours is a miscarriage of justice for which they are holding Swanson responsible.

We disagree, largely based on the words of Billquist’s husband, Jamie, immediately after the plea agreement was announced in Chautauqua County Court last week. Swanson likely wouldn’t have agreed to a plea agreement if Jamie Billquist hadn’t agreed to such a disposition. What Billquist said to The Post-Journal’s Jordan Patterson last week shines an important light on the plea agreement.

“I’ve been saying that since day one — if it’s a handful of years in prison, that’s fine with me,” Billquist’s husband, Jamie, said moments after the plea deal was accepted. “I’m not looking for revenge. He’ll learn his lesson. He’s a human being. We’ve known him since he was a child so he’s got to have feelings. It’s been tough. Nobody wins in this case — it’s a tough case for everybody, but in the end I feel good today and I think everything went well.”

No amount of time in prison will fill the hole Jamie Billquist has felt for the last year of his life. If he is willing to agree to a lesser charge against his neighbor, so should the rest of us.