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Judge considers release of Hawaii man convicted of murder of woman in 1991

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A lawyer for a Native Hawaiian man who was imprisoned for more than 20 years for sexually assaulting, kidnapping and murdering a white woman who visited Hawaii in 1991 pleaded guilty Tuesday to his conviction, citing new evidence, including a DNA test. I will ask the judge to dismiss the case.

A petition filed late Monday outlines additional evidence for one of Hawaii’s largest murders on the Big Island of Hawaii, commonly known as the Big Island, on Christmas Eve 1991.

A 23-year-old woman named Dana Ireland was found “clinging to life” in the bushes along a fishing trail in remote Puna on the Big Island. According to the Hawaii Innocence Project.

“Dana was inconsistent, partially clothed, and believed to be an apparent victim of sexual assault.” She tragically passed away at 12:07 am on December 25, 1991 from a massive hemorrhage.”

Hawaii Murder Innocence Project
Hawaii Innocence Project co-director Kenneth Lawson (left) and law student Sky Jansen on Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Jennifer Cinco Kelleher / AP


The wrecked bicycle she was riding was found several miles away and apparently hit by a car.

The murder of a blonde-haired, blue-eyed visitor from Virginia received national attention and remained unsolved for years, putting intense pressure on police to find the killer.

“White female victims get more attention than people of color or Native Hawaiians,” said Kenneth Lawson, co-director of the Hawaii Innocence Project. There was an insurmountable pressure to solve this case.And when it happened, mistakes were made.Some were intentional, some were unintentional.”

Lawson’s group is representing Albert “Ian” Schweitzer, with the help of New York’s Innocence Project, who are co-lawyers in the case.

Previously filed DNA evidence in this case was of an unknown man, and all three convicted men were excluded as sources.

According to the petition, new DNA evidence found near Ireland indicates that her blood-soaked “Jimmy Z” branded t-shirt was not one of the three men prosecutors claimed was the same. It indicates that it belongs to an unknown male.

Additionally, a new tire tread analysis concluded that Schweitzer’s Volkswagen Beetle car left no tire marks in either Ireland or where her bike was found.

ireland trials
Hawaii County Police Lieutenant Edwin Tanaka (right) presents the jury in a courtroom in Hilo, Hawaii, in the murder trial of Frank Paulin Jr., one of three men charged with kidnapping, rape and murder. ) and Evidence Clerk Dennis Najiri Here is a photo of Dana Ireland, the wrecked black mountain bike she was riding when she was knocked over on December 24, 1991.

William Ing / AP


Hawaii News Now reported The tire tread marks at the crime scene were most likely made by a large vehicle, possibly a pickup truck, expert witnesses argue in the petition. After inspecting vans and jeeps), he focused on Schweitzer’s Beetle a few years later.

Forensic dentists also concluded that her left breast injury was not a bite mark, as previously believed.

“In today’s new trial, the jury will not convict Mr. Schweitzer of the sexual assault and murder of Ms. Ireland,” the petition said. “In fact, prosecutors wouldn’t even arrest Mr. Schweitzer for this crime.”

It is “highly unlikely” that all three men were involved in sexual assault and left no trace of biological evidence, including the lack of evidence found on advanced forensic examination.

At the evidence hearing, the judge considers the defense’s request to vacate Schweitzer’s sentence and release him.

Relatives in Ireland could not be reached for comment on the petition.

In 2019, Schweitzer’s attorney and Hawaii County prosecutors signed a “conviction integrity agreement” to review the case. It is the first of its kind and is increasingly being used to revisit questionable beliefs and prevent future errors.

Much of the background to the Irish case is detailed in the documents filed in the petition stating the facts laid down by the defense and prosecutor.

In 1994, police made what appeared to be a major breakthrough. According to stipulated fact documents, a man charged with his role in a cocaine conspiracy contacted police and claimed that his half-brother Frank Paulin Jr. witnessed the Irish attack.

Police interviewed Pauline, who is in the third month of a 10-year sentence for unrelated sexual assault and theft. He claimed that his brothers Ian and Sean Schweitzer attacked and killed Ireland. However, he was interviewed at least seven times, giving inconsistent explanations each time, and eventually found himself guilty.

The two Schweitzers and Pauline were indicted in 1997, despite the lack of evidence linking them to the murders.

At one point, all three men were ruled out as sources of semen found in Ireland and hospital gurney sheets, so the charges were dismissed. They were again indicted after they claimed to have confessed to raping and murdering Ireland.

Pauline later said she provided police with details about the Irish murders in order to drop drug charges against her half-brother.

In a prison interview for the A&E show “American Justice”, Pauline compared her story to that of a wolf boy. “It wasn’t me,” he said in a strong Hawaiian pidgin accent. But when he started speaking the truth, he said no one believed him.

After seeing a jury convict Pauline and his brother in 2000, Sean Schweitzer signed a contract pleading guilty to manslaughter and kidnapping, serving about a year in prison and five years. I received probation from

In October, Shawn Schweitzer met with prosecutors and retracted the allegation. According to the statutory document, he “didn’t want to risk losing another son, so his parents didn’t want Sean Schweitzer to do what it took to get home and suffer the same fate as his brother.” He pleaded guilty because he advised him not to do so.

Sean Schweitzer “continues to feel great guilt for agreeing to a confession, filing a guilty plea for a crime he didn’t commit, and accidentally implicating his brother,” the document said.

A polygraph test in November showed he was telling the truth when he denied involvement in the murder, documents say.

Pauline was murdered by fellow inmates in a New Mexico prison in 2015. Ian Schweitzer is serving a 130-year sentence in an Arizona prison because of a lack of space for Hawaii inmates.

“Mr. Schweitzer has been wrongfully imprisoned for more than two decades based on unreliable informant evidence and reconstructed testimony of the accident,” the petition said. Given that, it would be unconscionable for him to remain imprisoned.”

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Written by Natalia Chi

Chicago Popular; Chicago breaking news, weather and live video. Covering local politics, health, traffic and sports for Chicago, the suburbs and northwest Indiana.

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