Frank Pauline Jr. has been convicted of her murder, kidnapping and sexual assault, bringing some closure to Big Island residents and the Ireland family, who have sought justice since her slaying on Christmas Eve 1991.
If prosecutors getBy Dana Williams
their wish, Pauline
will never leave prison
HILO -- After sifting through lies, truths, circumstantial evidence and scientific testimony, a jury of six men and six women determined that Frank Pauline Jr. was guilty of the murder of Dana Ireland.
Prosecutors say they will seek extended consecutive sentences for Pauline, 26, meaning he could spend the rest of his life in prison.
Ireland, a 23-year-old Big Island newcomer, was riding her bicycle in Puna on Christmas Eve 1991 when she was struck by a car, abducted, raped and left to die. The timing and brutality of the attack, as well as delays by rescue workers, drew statewide attention to the case.
"It's been eight years for us, looking for justice for Dana. And it finally happened. Something really positive finally happened for her," said Sandra Ireland, Dana's sister. "She got her day in court and she got some justice. And we're really thankful."
In 1994, Pauline was serving a prison sentence for an unrelated sexual assault when he told police he had information about the murder. He eventually said he participated in the crime, then later recanted his confession.
Jurors listened to almost six weeks of testimony and deliberated for 14 hours. Yesterday they found Pauline guilty of second-degree murder, kidnapping and first-degree sexual assault.
Jury heard array of witnessesDuring the trial, jurors heard from Pauline's friends and relatives, doctors, prison inmates, a man described by the defense as a psychic, accident reconstruction experts and some of the nation's top forensic scientists.
"It was hard because there were so many witnesses that were telling different stories," said jury forewoman Gwen Kaneshiro.
"There were obviously many lies and many truths," she said. "And to separate it out, to sort out who was telling the truth, who was telling the lies, it was just very, very difficult."
One of the witnesses jurors did not believe was the defendant, Kaneshiro said.
"We felt that Mr. Pauline has a long history of manipulation, prevarication, violence. It was difficult to believe," she said.
"We do believe that there was love in that family, and that Mr. Pauline was capable of loving his children and loving his wife and loving his family. That part was believable, but many of the things he said about what happened were not believable to us," Kaneshiro said.
In his 1994 confession, Pauline said he was in a Volkswagen Beetle with brothers Albert Ian and Shawn Schweitzer when Ian ran over a woman in the road. They stuffed the woman in the trunk of the car and drove to a remote area where she was raped. Pauline said he hit her over the head with a tire iron.
Changed his storyIn testimony before the jury earlier this week, Pauline said he made up the confession to get favors from police and prosecutors. He said he wanted to be transferred from Halawa prison, and he wanted his brother, who was facing drug conspiracy charges at the time, to get a deal.
Although prosecutors had the confession, there was little physical evidence linking Pauline to the crime. DNA had been recovered from sperm found on a gurney sheet where Ireland lay dying, but the DNA didn't match any of the suspects in the case. Prosecutors said a fourth man was involved in the attack.
"Obviously there's somebody else involved," Kaneshiro said. But, she added, "just because the DNA from those three persons did not show up does not mean that they were absolved of the crime, so we could not rule that out. There was too much other evidence, too many other circumstances that pointed to the fact that they were there, they were involved."
'Highly circumstantial' caseThe jurors made their decision by "just weighing all the evidence. It was a case of circumstantial evidence, highly circumstantial," Kaneshiro said.
Defense attorney Clifford Hunt said he plans to appeal the jury's decision.
"We were disappointed," Hunt said. "We hoped that the jury would see reasonable doubt there."
Maximum sentence soughtDeputy Prosecutor Charlene Iboshi said Pauline could be sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole on the murder charge, and the sexual assault and kidnapping charges carry sentences of up to 20 years each. But the extended sentences prosecutors will ask for could result in a total of three life terms for Pauline.
"Because of his record, his persistent criminal behavior as well as the nature of the charges and the circumstances, the community has to be protected. That is why we're pursuing the consecutive extended terms," Iboshi said.
Pauline was returned to custody to continue serving his 10-year sentence on the previous unrelated sexual assault conviction.
He faces trial on another unrelated sexual assault case in November.
Albert Ian Schweitzer is set to go to trial in the Ireland case in November. Shawn Schweitzer's trial is scheduled for March 2000.
Dana Ireland Archive
Trial witnesses summary