By Pete Pichaske, Phillips News Service
Background: The Irelands' family plot at Davis Cemetery in Shipman, Va.
The wheels of justice are turning slowlyBy Rod Thompson
in the 1991 murder case, and the delays
have taken a toll on witnesses
and Dana's family
Seven years, five months and 17 days have passed since Big Island newcomer Dana Ireland was kidnapped, raped and murdered on Dec. 24, 1991.
Five years have dragged by since Frank Pauline Jr. confessed to police, nearly two since he was indicted.
Five different trial dates have been set for him. Four have been changed.
Now the seven-week trial, which was supposed to start Monday, has been moved to July 19.
For practically everyone involved, the delays have meant frustration. For Dana's parents, John and Louise, the delays mean fresh injury.
"What really gets me is you're up to the point where you're ready to go to trial and zap, just like someone cut your legs out from under you," John Ireland said.
The reason for the latest delay isn't even publicly known. Defense attorney Clifford Hunt told Judge Riki May Amano something in private. It was something to do with "personal reasons," Ireland was told.
The judge ordered the paperwork locked up.
"Why are they hiding?" Ireland asked. "I just don't understand why they're hiding."
Hunt gained a previous delay in March, saying he hadn't read most of the material given him by the prosecution. Of 5,300 pages, he said he had read only 1,000.
"His only excuse was he didn't have time," Ireland said. "He had the case since January 1998. He had time to read that stuff. But he probably gave other cases priority."
Amano also has showed frustration. At one point she told Hunt there was no excuse for not being ready. But she gave him more time, knowing a verdict might be overturned if she didn't.
The prosecutors have expressed frustration. They've been blamed for delays, but they're forbidden to explain themselves by regular court rules and by a special gag order from Amano.
The prosecution was responsible for the biggest delay since the indictment, more than a year.
Changing attorneysAmano initially set trial for Jan. 20, 1998, but Pauline's attorney Brian De Lima was dismissed two weeks before trial because of a potential conflict.
Lead prosecutor Charlene Iboshi requested the dismissal, saying she might call another of De Lima's clients as a witness.
If she did that -- it wasn't certain that she would -- De Lima might face the conflict of cross-examining his own client.
De Lima said the prosecution wanted to get rid of him because he had never lost a case. He said when he didn't win acquittals, he got convictions for lesser offenses.
Two months later, Iboshi had another attorney removed in a related case. She named a witness who posed a conflict for Ira Leitel, who represented suspect Shawn Schweitzer. Schweitzer was one of two brothers also charged with killing Dana Ireland.
Leitel suggested the witness was added to pose a conflict. The prosecution already listed 228 witnesses, then added the new name just a month before Schweitzer's trial, which also had to be delayed.
Schweitzer's father, Jerry Schweitzer, said, "They want to give (Shawn) a counsel they can control."
Amano finally appointed Hunt to represent Pauline, and Keith Shigetomi to represent Schweitzer. Hunt and Shigetomi both declared witness conflicts, but Iboshi never sought their removal.
A series of trial dates followed.
Louise Ireland commented, "I'll be dead before this is over."
A year after the Schweitzers were indicted, and days before their trial was to start, charges against them were dropped. The brothers were reindicted this year.
The witnessesAs the years go on, memories fade and people move.
For those on the witness lists, the legal delays are stressful.
Hazel Franklin, the first to call police after Dana Ireland was found, wasn't questioned by police until about three years after the murder. They told her she "fell through the cracks."
Later, an investigator asked her to look at a photo lineup to identify a man she saw about a mile from the scene, but to imagine him about 50 pounds heavier. Franklin told him that was pointless after so many years.
Anna Sherrell, who found Dana's crumpled bicycle, said she had to move to a new home after information about her was published.
"Besides relocating, I keep getting subpoenaed," she said. "This terrible thing keeps coming back in my mind. Just about the time I'm ready to go and do the testifying, they cancel the thing and they reschedule things. It's put my life on hold for quite a few years now." Witnesses have scattered.
Geri Gallagher, 46, a nurse who helped Dana Ireland as she lay abandoned on a fishing trail, moved to Utah.
She said she received four different subpoenas in 1998 and this year, all later canceled.
Finally prosecutors told her to be ready to fly to Hawaii on a moment's notice.
One witness, his significance to the case unexplained, lives in New Zealand. Others, not including expert witnesses, are in Arizona, Texas, Wisconsin and an Oklahoma prison.
The case against PaulineIn May 1994, John Gonsalves, facing cocaine charges, told police his brother Frank Pauline Jr., in prison for sexual assault, wanted to talk about the murder.
Soon Pauline was talking to the public, too.
From the Maui Community Correctional Center, Pauline telephoned the Hawaii Tribune-Herald on Dec. 11, 1994, to describe the attack.
In the newspaper story, one of several versions he told over the years, Pauline said he was with two brothers when the driver deliberately ran over a woman.
The brothers put her in the trunk of the car, carried her to another place, and at least one brother appeared to rape her. One brother also hit her with a tire iron, Pauline said.
Pauline said he was so sickened that he vomited. One brother threatened him when he wanted to leave, he said.
In a 1997 court hearing, Detective Steven Guillermo testified that Pauline told police a different version.
By this time the brothers had been identified as Albert Ian and Shawn Schweitzer, and they had been indicted.
Guillermo said Pauline first told police Ian Schweitzer hit the woman with a tire iron. Then Pauline said he hit the woman himself. He also said they both hit her.
Guillermo gave additional details in court, including the fact that police twice drove through Puna with Pauline reconstructing the crime, in June 1994 and April 1995.
He also revealed that Pauline tried to hang himself while in a Hilo police cell in 1994.
An official from the attorney general's office testified Pauline said he had an erection during the attack on Ireland, but didn't rape her because her injuries were "gross."
In the courtsIn early 1996, police presented more than 1,000 pages of reports to the prosecutor.
And Dana Ireland's parents ended their long-pending civil suit against the county charging slow medical response to their daughter. Part of their $452,000 settlement went to a scholarship fund.
By mid-1996, an investigative grand jury was hearing testimony. The purpose of such proceedings is to lock in statements by witnesses, not to bring an indictment, experts say.
A flap occurred during those hearings when someone forgot to notify jurors about one meeting. That caused embarrassment, but delayed proceedings only about a week until a new meeting.
In January 1997, a new grand jury was impaneled, indicting Pauline in July. The Irelands commented that police and prosecutors had been thorough and worked hard.
Indictments against the Schweitzers followed in October, but were dropped the next year. A DNA expert brought into the case by De Lima before he was removed found sperm samples on the sheet where Dana lay dying. The sperm didn't match any of the suspects.
Charges against the Schweitzers, both suspected of raping the woman, were dropped, subject to refiling. Charges against Pauline, who never claimed to have raped her, were retained.
Deputy Prosecutor Lincoln Ashida revealed in a court document that police always suspected a fourth attacker, which would explain why the DNA did not match the Schweitzers. The possibility of a fourth attacker also was hinted in the reindictment of the Schweitzers last month.
Pauline is charged with murder for allegedly committing certain acts, such as hitting Dana Ireland with a tire iron. Iboshi also wanted him charged with murder by omission, for failing to call for medical help. Amano, however, wouldn't allow the charge.
The new indictment of the Schweitzers again lists the murder by omission charge against them.
But Pauline is free of the charge, opening the way for him to go back to his 1994 Tribune-Herald version of events: That he didn't hit Dana Ireland, and he was a victim of the Schweitzers, who held him against his will.
A document filed by Hunt in April said the injury on Dana's head doesn't match a tire iron.
Hunt said Pauline claimed he hit her merely to get police attention. Police did a "shoddy" job and got the wrong man, he said.
Court proceedings in the Dana Ireland case have suffered a series of delays:
Trials on, off, then
on again, off again
July 29, 1997: Frank Pauline Jr. is indicted for murder, kidnapping and sexual assault. Trial is set for Jan. 20, 1998.
Oct. 9, 1997: Brothers Shawn and Albert Ian Schweitzer are indicted with the same charges as Pauline. Trial is set for April 6, 1998.
Jan. 7, 1998: Prosecution obtains the removal of Pauline's attorney Brian De Lima by listing another of his clients as their witness. This is a conflict because De Lima might have to cross-examine his own client. De Lima comments that the prosecution used the tactic because they were afraid of him.
Mid-January 1998: Attorney David Gierlach is appointed to defend Pauline. Trial is reset for July 27. A week later Gierlach discovers a conflict. He is replaced by Clifford Hunt.
March 3, 1998: Ira Leitel, attorney for Shawn Schweitzer, is removed for the same kind of conflict regarding a witness that De Lima faced. Keith Shigetomi replaces Leitel. In April, Judge Riki May Amano sets a Nov. 2, 1998, trial date for the brothers.
May 28, 1998: Hunt asks for more time for Pauline, saying he has had four months to prepare compared with six years for prosecutors. Judge Amano sets trial for March 1, 1999.
Oct. 20, 1998: Prosecutor Charlene Iboshi drops charges against the Schweitzers. She cites only "unforeseen developments," but the comment is believed to refer to DNA evidence that may clear the Schweitzers. A June 1 deadline is set for possible refiling of charges.
March 1, 1999: Pauline's attorney Hunt again asks for a delay, saying he has read only a fraction of 5,300 pages of information on the case. Amano sets trial for June 14.
May 19, 1999: The Schweitzers are reindicted. Trial is set for Nov. 15.
May 24, 1999: Pauline's attorney is granted a delay for personal reasons. Trial is rescheduled for July 19.
Courtesy of John and Louise Ireland
3-year-old Dana on the patio of the
Irelands' home in Springfield, Va.
Blurred through the years is the real Dana. She lives on, though -- beautiful, shy, kind -- in the memories of those who knew her. The innocent. The indicted. Anatomy of a murder. The what and where of the attack. Who's who in the Dana Ireland tragedy.
Help came too late for Dana Ireland. From the moment she was hit by her attackers' car until the time an ambulance reached her, more than two hours passed. Here's how minutes -- and a life -- were lost.
Life has gone on since the Dec. 24, 1991, attack. Memories have faded. Witnesses have scattered. But each twist and turn in the seven-year bid to bring to justice those responsible means fresh injury, not only to Dana's family but to witnesses whose lives have been put on hold by this on-again, off-again case.
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