Wednesday, May 26, 1999

Brothers plead not guilty
in Big Isle slaying

By Rod Thompson
Big Island correspondent


HILO -- Brothers Shawn and Albert Ian Schweitzer have pleaded not guilty to the 1991 murder of Big Island newcomer Dana Ireland, opening the way to a new round of proceedings in the complicated case.

Judge Riki May Amano yesterday set their trial for Nov. 15, a date which may not be reliable since a separate sexual assault trial is set to start in the judge's court that day.

The defendant in the sexual assault case is Frank Pauline Jr., also a suspect in the Ireland murder, although the sexual assault case is not related to Ireland.

Court proceedings yesterday gave other signs Nov. 15 is not a date to rely on.

Keith Shigetomi, the lawyer who represents Shawn Schweitzer, said the date would be difficult for him. He also said he expects to file a number of motions, any one of which could cause delay.

And Amano indicated she expects a request to separate the trial of the two brothers, raising the question of which, if either, would remain on Nov. 15.

The cases were separated once in the past, then reunited.

Despite those factors, Amano said she doesn't want a delay in a case that already has seen numerous delays in charges and trial.

"As much as possible, I don't want this case moved. As much as possible, I want this case to go Nov. 15," she said.

Shawn, 23, and Ian, 27, were indicted for kidnapping, sexual assault and murder in 1997. Pauline, 26, was indicted separately the same year.

Court documents and testimony indicate the three men -- and possibly a fourth person -- ran over Ireland in their car, picked her up and took her to a remote place where at least one of them raped her, then beat her with a tire iron and abandoned her to die.

Charges against the brothers were dropped last year when DNA evidence raised questions about their guilt, but new indictments were issued last week.

The brothers were brought to court yesterday with their wrists and ankles in chains. They'll remain jailed without bail until a bail hearing can be held June 1.

For Ian Schweitzer, the hearing will make no difference. He is already being held without bail in an unrelated sexual assault case.

Meanwhile, Pauline's trial was delayed this week to July 19 at the request of Pauline's attorney, Clifford Hunt.

The judge declined comment on her reason for granting the delay, saying she cannot comment on any pending case. On Monday, she ordered Hunt's request locked away from public perusal.

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