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Wednesday, May 10, 2000

Dana Ireland

reflect on the
Ireland case

Although it's 'not totally over,'
those who handled the trial
are pleased

Confession tape, transcript detail horror

By Rod Thompson


HILO -- Avoiding a "knee-jerk reaction" to the 1991 murder of Dana Ireland allowed prosecutors to painstakingly bring the three young men involved to justice over an 8-year-period, Deputy Prosecutor Lincoln Ashida says.

Had prosecutors indicted their first suspect, they would have picked the wrong man, he said.

"The case is not totally over. We still have at least two appeals," Ashida said. But the pressure was finally off, and Ashida, co-prosecutor Charlene Iboshi, and their boss, Prosecutor Jay Kimura, reviewed the long case at a news conference yesterday.

Despite having some early suspects, police got no real break in the case until 1994, when Frank Pauline Jr. made a series of sometimes conflicting confessions to police and the news media.

Ashida said it was fortunate that the investigating officer, Steven Guillermo, then a detective, "didn't just take (Pauline's confessions) at face value."

That took time," Ashida said.

Shawn Schweitzer almost confessed at that time, then pulled back, he said. "He basically clammed up."

Family pressure is thought to have blocked a confession, but Schweitzer said during his sentencing yesterday that he never told his family about his and his brother's involvement.

Another problem was DNA from sperm found in Ireland, which seemed to indicate a fourth attacker. Schweitzer said there were only three.

Now that the cases are over at the circuit court level, the prosecution will go back to the agencies that did the DNA tests to review them, Ashida said.

The DNA samples were old, small, and contaminated by the time they were tested, he said.

Kimura said he had no overall cost for the three trials, but expert witnesses and evidence testing cost about $400,000.

Both police and prosecutors were criticized over the years by the public and newspaper editorials for the slow pace of the case.

Iboshi said it took at emotional toll.

A gag order by Amano -- in effect for 1-1/2 years -- that prevented lawyers from talking with the news media helped, because it allowed them to focus on the case Iboshi said.

Ashida said that the pressure of the case was rewarded by the convictions.

"All I can think about is how wonderful it is to work here!" he said.

Confession tape,
transcript detail horror

'They just told me to be quiet and
everything would be all right'

By Rod Thompson


HILO -- After Shawn Schweitzer, 24, the last defendant in the Dana Ireland murder trial, was sentenced to a year in prison and five years' probation yesterday, prosecutors released a transcript and played a tape of portions of his confession in the 1991 case.

On the tape, Schweitzer described Frank Pauline Jr., then 18, urging the attack on Ireland, 23, and Schweitzer's brother Albert Ian, then 20, responding by running a Volkswagen into her.

"I heard Frank say like, 'There's that girl, that f---ing bitch.' (He) told my brother for bang her. I felt the car like run her over and the car lift up. And then he turned around, turned the car around.

"They got out of the car, and they was looking at her. And (I) told them, 'We gotta go get help for her.' And they told me for shut up and for stay in the car. And then Frank went pick her up, and he put her in the front seat.

"I told them, 'No! What you guys doing?' And they just, they were yelling at me and tell me for shut the f--- up and keep my mouth shut. And they kept driving until we got to the spot where she was found. I guess they were planning to throw her off the cliff.

"Frank started doing sick stuff to her. He started to take off her clothes and trying for rape her. I told him (his brother), 'You'd better get me the f--- out of there.' He started reversing out, and Frank came running after the car. He said, 'What the f--- you guys doing?' My brother's telling him he's sick, and why he was doing that?"

They went home, and his brother washed out the car with a hose.

"They just told me to be quiet and everything would be all right. Nobody would find out."

Schweitzer, then 16, has already served more than a year in prison and is free on probation. He received a lesser sentenced in exchange for the confession.

Pauline is serving a minimum term of 180 years in prison.

Albert Ian Schweitzer was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole. His minimum term will be set by the Hawaii Paroling Authority.

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