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Friday, April 14, 2000



Dana Ireland
murder suspect
could be
released Monday

Shawn Schweitzer to plead
guilty to lesser charges and
may be left on probation

By Rod Thompson
Big Island correspondent

Tapa

Dana Ireland HILO -- Louise Ireland, mother of 1991 murder victim Dana Ireland, says she doesn't want suspect Shawn Schweitzer to "come out smelling like a rose."

Perhaps not, but under a plea agreement, Schweitzer could go free as early as next week.

Sources have confirmed that Schweitzer, 24, previously charged with murder, kidnapping, and sexual assault, will be allowed to plead guilty to manslaughter and kidnapping Monday for his role in one of the Big Island's most notorious criminal cases.

The plea agreement calls for Schweitzer to spend a year in prison and five years on probation. Since he has already spent 16 months in prison awaiting trial, he might be freed immediately.

"I'm not happy," responded Louise Ireland.

"He could have saved Dana's life if he had called police or called 911. I don't see how in the world he could get off with something like that."

Information in court documents and from the previous trials of co-defendants Frank Pauline Jr. and brother Albert Ian Schweitzer generally indicate that Shawn Schweitzer, then 16, played a minor role in the Christmas Eve 1991 attack on the 23-year-old Ireland, who was visiting her sister on the Big Island.

Sources confirmed that Shawn Schweitzer passed a lie detector test that showed his brother and Pauline were the primary attackers.

Pauline and Albert Ian Schweitzer were convicted of the murder, kidnapping and sexual assault of Ireland. Albert Ian Schweitzer, then 20, drove the car that hit Ireland, and Pauline, then 18, dragged the badly injured woman into the car.

Ireland was driven to a remote area, raped, and left to die.

Louise Ireland said it doesn't matter that Shawn Schweitzer's role was minor.

She said she didn't know about the plea agreement, but feared Schweitzer would go free when she heard that the sentencing of Albert Ian Schweitzer was postponed Monday because of a new police report.

Shawn Schweitzer has also told police there was not a fourth suspect in the crime.

The fourth suspect was conjectured by authorities as a way to explain the DNA from sperm of an unknown person found in Ireland's body and on a sheet where she lay.

Louise Ireland said she heard trial testimony of Lisa Calandro, an expert on DNA. "That woman that did the DNA test, the way she was talking, it sounded like it wasn't right," she said.

She predicted Schweitzer's freedom will be brief.

"If he gets out in public, you know he'll screw up again, and there he goes right back (to prison) again."

After Schweitzer's change of plea Monday, his brother -- convicted in February -- is to be sentenced April 24.

Pauline was sentenced to three life terms in the case.



Dana Ireland Archive



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