Friday, June 18, 1999

Prosecutor: Ireland suspect
disclosed key facts

By Rod Thompson


HILO -- Dana Ireland murder suspect Albert Ian Schweitzer told a fellow jail inmate details of the case that have never been made public, a prosecutor says in a court document.

The inmate, Michael Wayne Ortiz, yesterday received a reduced sentence in an unrelated case, a step seen by Schweitzer's mother as part of an agreement for Ortiz to testify against her son in the Ireland case.

Dana Ireland The reduction by Judge Greg Nakamura of Ortiz's minimum sentence to the three years he has already served opens the way for the state paroling authority to consider releasing him from prison.

Authorities continue to decline comment on the possible agreement with Ortiz, but Schweitzer's mother, Linda, says Ortiz made a deal.

In a document supporting the reduced sentence, Deputy Prosecutor Lincoln Ashida said Schweitzer's statement to Ortiz "included facts not yet made public which could only be known by persons who were present" during the Christmas Eve 1991 attack against Ireland.

Although Schweitzer allegedly confessed, Ortiz said he heard him warn his brother Shawn, who is also in jail, "no say nothing."

Schweitzer confessed to Ortiz in the Hawaii Community Correctional Center in the summer of 1998, Ashida wrote.

Ortiz didn't reveal details of the confession until nearly a year later, on May 5.

That was just weeks before a June 1 deadline for prosecutors to reinstate previously dropped charges against Schweitzer and his brother Shawn.

Ortiz didn't ask for any favors, but instead "commented that he wanted to do the right thing," Ashida wrote.

A plea offer to the brothers followed. Ashida wrote that Shawn would be required to plead to two felonies, one of them hindering prosecution. The other was not disclosed.

Ian would be required to plead to manslaughter, kidnapping and, in an unrelated case, to sexual assault.

The brothers turned down the deal because they are innocent, their mother said.

They were reindicted May 19.

Dana Ireland Archive

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