HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - After the 1991 rape and murder of Dana Ireland on the Big Island, three men were convicted; Frank Pauline and brothers, Albert Ian and Shawn Schweitzer.
But Hawaii County prosecutors say the case was never really closed.
Male DNA from Ireland’s body and a bloody t-shirt doesn’t match the three defendants — or anyone in a national database. Prosecutors say the jury knew that, but had enough evidence to convict.
“Law enforcement has never given up looking for this fourth person,” said Hawaii County deputy Prosecutor Rick Dammerville.
“From the day we knew that the DNA didn’t match the three people that were ultimately charged, we haven’t stopped looking.”
The Hawaii Innocence Project, which is trying to exonerate Albert Ian Schweitzer, will meet with county prosecutors this week with a proposal to pay for expensive genetic testing.
“The question is can we use that genetic type testing that was used with the Golden State Killer to see if we can at least come up with a profile of who this person is? And let’s say that doesn’t happen we will have evidence that shows our client was wrongfully convicted,” said Ken Lawson, co-director of the Hawaii Innocence Project.
Hawaii County Prosecutor Mitch Roth says while the three men were rightfully convicted, he’s open to working with Schweitzer’s lawyers.
“The families haven’t forgot. We shouldn’t forget. We don’t forget," Roth said.
“I’ve been criticized. You are using these resources to look at these old cases. You should be going after the new cases, but these are some of the most important cases.”
Meanwhile, retired Washington Judge Mike Heavey argues that the crime was committed by a lone rapist.
The Hawaii Innocence Project has filed a complaint with the state Attorney General, saying he is illegally practicing law in Hawaii by talking to witnesses in the case. Heavey, though, is undeterred.
“We shine the light of truth on cases of injustice. I see nothing that interferes with their clients case that I’m somehow practicing law in Hawaii,” said Heavey.