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Tuesday, May 9, 2000

Dana Ireland

warned: Probation
no cake walk

The Ireland murder case
defendant apologizes to the
family and the court

By Rod Thompson


HILO -- During his sentencing this morning for manslaughter and kidnapping in the 1991 death of Dana Ireland, Shawn Schweitzer said he told his brother and another man to stop their attack on the young woman. but admitted he failed get help for her.

He read an apology to the court and Ireland's family for his failure to act, but despite prompting from Judge Riki May Amano, he wasn't able to turn around and apologize to Ireland's sister, Sandy, who was sitting in the courtroom.

Following the terms of a plea agreement, Amano sentenced Schweitzer, 24, to a year in prison and five years' probation.

But because Schweitzer has already served 16 months in jail awaiting trial, he will not serve any additional time behind bars.

"Probation is not a cake walk," said Deputy Prosecutor Lincoln Ashida. "He needs to feel responsible."

Judge Amano told Schweitzer he can't take the attitude that there was nothing he could do.

"If you walk out with that attitude, you have learned nothing," she said.

Schweitzer's brother Ian, 28, and Frank Pauline Jr., 26, were convicted of murder, kidnapping and rape in the case.

Shawn Schweitzer, then 16, was in the back of a Volkswagen on Christmas Eve, 1991 when his brother ran over Ireland, 23, and Pauline dragged her into the car.

"I told them go get help," Schweitzer said.

"Could you have gotten out of the car?" Amano asked.

"I was told to shut up and stay in the car," he answered. Ireland wasn't moving, and Schweitzer saw blood.

"I was scared and I didn't know what to do," he said.

"Do you know what to do now? That's what bothers me," Amano said.

"Get help and not listen to other people," Schweitzer answered.

"Could you have stopped them (his brother and Pauline)?" Amano asked.

"No, because I was too small," he answered.

Sandy Ireland told Amano her family has mixed feelings about the plea deal Schweitzer received.

"We believe his sentence is lenient, and he's getting a second chance in life. Today Shawn Schweitzer is receiving a chance to redeem his life."

In his written statement, Schweitzer said that, as a parent himself, he understands how Ireland's parents feel losing a daughter.

"Since I have been in jail, I know how much a parent can miss a child. Many nights I've cried."

Amano warned him that his statement won't make the public feel sorry for him.

Ashida warned that if he violates probation, the prosecution will seek the maximum prison time allowed.

Dana Ireland Archive

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