Judge unseals documents in 1991 Dana Ireland murder case amid exoneration fight

A judge has unsealed documents in the murder case of Dana Ireland on the Big Island in 1991 following accusations of evidence being hidden.
Published: Aug. 16, 2022 at 12:16 AM HST|Updated: Aug. 16, 2022 at 9:25 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A judge has unsealed documents in the murder case of Dana Ireland on the Big Island in 1991 following accusations of evidence being hidden.

The Hawaii Innocence Project and New York Innocence Project are representing Albert “Ian” Schweitzer, and attempting to exonerate him.

He’s one of the three men convicted in the 1991 rape and murder of Dana Ireland in lower Puna.

Ken Lawson, co-director of the Hawaii Innocence Project, said the Seattle-based non-profit Judges for Justice filed complaints in the Hawaii Supreme Court and disciplinary counsel accusing the Innocence Project of concealing DNA evidence. But Lawson said, “Our client basically demanded that we not share any information with Judges for Justice.”

Judges for Justice also believe the three men were wrongfully convicted and were able to convince Hilo Circuit Judge Peter Kubota to release redacted documents containing a list of items that were tested.

Lawson said there were no DNA results.

Although they opposed the documents being released, Lawson said it helps clear up the false accusations.

“And this really bothers me because you have an organization like Judges for Justice who proclaims that he is for actual innocence and who claims that he protests and despises prosecutors and police who falsely accuse people of crimes they didn’t commit and here he is doing the exact same thing with absolutely no evidence,” Lawson said.

In 1999, a jury convicted three men in Ireland’s rape and murder.

Schweitzer is serving a life sentence. His brother Shawn Schweitzer completed his sentence.

And Frank Pauline was killed in 2015 while serving a life sentence.

But DNA from Ireland’s body and a bloody shirt from the scene did not match the defendants.

Judges for Justice put together a 14-part documentary on Ireland’s death and previously helped in the case to exonerate murder suspect Amanda Knox.

However, Lawson said the group is getting in the way of their investigation.

“And the more information you give the real perpetrator, the more likely it is that he or she may be able to flee the island or try to come up with the reason why their DNA is uncertain evidence,” said Lawson.

“So we don’t want the public to know what evidence is being tested.”

HNN reached out to Judges for Justice and are waiting to hear back.

Hawaii County Prosecutor Kelden Waltjen released the following statement:

“Since his conviction, legal teams have raised concerns and sought post-conviction relief. These matters are still pending disposition. We have cooperated with the Hawaii Innocence Project throughout their investigation and continue to share information.”

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