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The petition seeks to free a Hawaiian man convicted of the ’91 murder. WGN Radio 720

Honolulu (AP) —

A petition filed Monday outlines new evidence in one of Hawaii’s largest criminal cases that sees more than 20 years in prison for sexually assaulting, kidnapping and murdering a white woman on the Big Island. I am asking a judge to release a Native Hawaiian man who was imprisoned.

On Christmas Eve 1991, 23-year-old Dana Ireland was found barely alive in the bushes along a fishing trail in the remote Puna area of ​​the Big Island. She was sexually assaulted and beaten and later died at Hilo Hospital, where her wrecked bicycle was found miles away and her car apparently hit her.

The murder of a blonde-haired, blue-eyed visitor from Virginia received national attention and remained unsolved for years, putting intense pressure on police to find the killer.

“White female victims get more attention than people of color or Native Hawaiians,” said Kenneth Lawson, co-director of the Hawaii Innocence Project. … There was pressure to solve this case, and when that happens, mistakes happen, some intentional and some unintentional.”

With the help of co-lawyer The Innocence Project of New York, Lawson’s group is representing Albert “Ian” Schweitzer.

It had long been known that the DNA evidence in the case belonged to an unknown man, and that all three convicted men were ruled out as sources. that her blood-soaked “Jimmy Z” branded T-shirt was found near Ireland belonged to the same unknown man.

Additionally, according to the petition, a new tire tread analysis concluded that Schweitzer’s Volkswagen Beetle car left no tire marks in either Ireland or where her bike was found. And forensic dentists concluded that her left breast injury was not a bite as previously believed.

“In today’s new trial, the jury will not convict Mr. Schweitzer of the sexual assault and murder of Ms. Ireland,” the petition said. would not even arrest the

It is “very likely” that all three men may have participated in the sexual assault and left no trace of biological evidence, not even one that was uncovered on advanced forensic examination. Absent”.

At a scheduled hearing, the judge will consider the defense’s request to vacate Schweitzer’s sentence and release him.

Relatives in Ireland could not be reached for comment on the petition.

In 2019, Schweitzer’s attorneys and Hawaii County prosecutors entered into a “completeness of conviction agreement” to review the case. According to Lawson, this is the first time an agreement of this kind has been made in Hawaii, and it is increasingly being used to revisit questionable beliefs and prevent future errors.

Much of the background to the Irish case is detailed in the documents filed in the petition stating the facts laid down by the defense and prosecutor.

In 1994, police made what appeared to be a major breakthrough. A man charged with being involved in a cocaine conspiracy contacted police and claimed that his half-brother, Frank Paulin Jr., witnessed the Irish attack, according to stipulated fact documents.

Police interviewed Pauline, who is in the third month of a 10-year sentence for unrelated sexual assault and theft. He claimed that his brothers Ian and Sean Schweitzer attacked and killed Ireland. However, he was interviewed at least seven times, giving inconsistent accounts each time – ultimately blaming himself.

The two Schweitzers and Pauline were indicted in 1997, despite the lack of evidence linking them to the murders.

At one point, the charges were dismissed because all three men were ruled out as sources of semen found in Irish and hospital gurney sheets, but another informant said that Ian Schweitzer was in prison and that Pauline had died. They were again indicted after they claimed to have confessed to him that they had raped and murdered Ireland.

Pauline later said she provided police with details about the Irish murders in order to drop drug charges against her half-brother.

In a prison interview for the A&E show “American Justice”, Pauline compared her story to that of a wolf boy. “It wasn’t me,” he said in a strong Hawaiian pidgin accent. But when he started speaking the truth, he said no one believed him.

Sean Schweitzer pleaded guilty to manslaughter and kidnapping after watching a jury convict Pauline and his brother in 2000, serving about a year in prison and five years of probation. I signed a contract to receive credit.

In October, Shawn Schweitzer met with prosecutors and retracted the allegation. According to the statutory document, he “didn’t want to risk losing another son, so he decided to do what was necessary to get Sean Schweitzer back home and not suffer the same fate as his brother.” He pleaded guilty because he advised

He “continues to feel great guilt for agreeing to a confession, entering a guilty plea for a crime he didn’t commit, and accidentally implicating his brother,” the document said.

A polygraph test in November showed he was telling the truth when he denied involvement in the murder, documents say.

Pauline was murdered by fellow inmates in a New Mexico prison in 2015, and Ian Schweitzer is serving a 130-year sentence in an Arizona prison for lack of space for Hawaii inmates. .

“Mr. Schweitzer has been wrongfully imprisoned for more than 20 years based on unreliable informant evidence and reenactment testimony of the accident,” the petition states. Given that, it would be unconscionable for him to remain in prison.”

https://wgnradio.com/news/national/ap-petition-seeks-to-free-hawaiian-man-convicted-of-91-murder/ The petition seeks to free a Hawaiian man convicted of the ’91 murder. WGN Radio 720

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