Two men may
have heard confession
The prosecutor mentionsBy Rod Thompson
a new witness as Ian Schweitzer
goes on trial for the Ireland killing
Big Island correspondent
HILO -- Who is Kenneth Gann, and what will he say about Albert Ian Schweitzer's alleged confession to him about the 1991 murder of Big Island newcomer Dana Ireland?
Deputy Prosecutor Lincoln Ashida barely mentioned Gann yesterday in his opening statement in Schweitzer's trial for sexual assault, kidnapping and murder.
Ashida told jurors they will hear, "How (Schweitzer) found comfort in fellow inmates, how he confessed to Michael Ortiz, how he confessed to Kenneth Gann." Ortiz's name has been linked to the case for months. Gann was never mentioned before.
Defense attorney James Biven filled in some of the blanks.
"Kenneth Gann is in the Maui jail," Biven told jurors. "He has been talking to Michael Ortiz, who I talked about earlier. This guy, Kenneth Gann, has given the prosecution another version of his story. Last week Thursday, after you were sworn in as jurors, just three days ago, the prosecution faxes me his new story."
Ortiz told authorities last year that Schweitzer described running over Ireland with his Volkswagen "bug," supposedly by accident when he only meant to menace her.
Schweitzer's passenger, Frank Pauline Jr., then dragged the 23-year-old woman into the car, according to Ortiz. Court documents say Schweitzer allegedly told Ortiz that he, Pauline and his younger brother, Shawn, sped away to another place where Pauline beat, raped and abandoned Ireland.
That version conflicts with previous versions told by Pauline. He said Ireland was placed in the front-end trunk of the Volkswagen. Pauline said he didn't rape Ireland but did hit her on the head with a tire iron.
Pauline was convicted last summer.
What role Pauline's confessions will play in this trial remain unclear. Neither Biven nor Ashida referred to them.
Biven went into detail about how Pauline's half-brother, John Gonsalves, facing 10 years in prison for conspiracy to distribute cocaine, made a deal with prosecutors, reducing the sentence to five years and erasing a federal income tax case against him. Gonsalves testified against Pauline and may testify against Schweitzer.
Biven also said Gonsalves tried to collect $25,000 in reward money offered by the Ireland family "for delivering his own brother and the Schweitzer brothers to the prosecution."
If Gann is a surprise witness for the prosecution, Biven offered his own surprise testimony for the defense.
Schweitzer's former girlfriend, Sandy Pacheco, will testify that Schweitzer didn't repaint the Volkswagen yellow until at least five months after the attack on Ireland. The "overspray" from the painting is still in her carport, Biven said.
Ashida said Schweitzer "feverishly" repainted the car within days of the murder to hide damage to the car.
Dana Ireland Archive