Petition seeks to free Hawaiian man convicted of ’91 homicide


A petition filed Monday outlining new proof in one among Hawaii’s largest prison circumstances asks a choose to launch a Native Hawaiian man who has spent greater than 20 years in jail for the sexual assault, kidnapping and homicide of a white girl on the Massive Island.

On Christmas Eve in 1991, Dana Eire, 23, was discovered barely alive within the bushes alongside a fishing path in Puna, a distant Massive Island district. She was sexually assaulted and overwhelmed, and later died at Hilo hospital. The mangled bicycle she had been driving was discovered a number of miles away and it appeared a automobile bumped into her.

The homicide of the blond-haired, blue-eyed customer from Virginia gained nationwide consideration and remained unsolved for years, placing intense stress on police to seek out the killer.

“Every time you may have a white, feminine sufferer … it will get much more consideration than folks of colour and Native Hawaiians,” stated Kenneth Lawson, co-director of the Hawaii Innocence Undertaking. “The dad and mom, understandably, have been turning into an increasing number of infuriated. … There was insurmountable stress to unravel this case. And when that occurs, errors are made. Some intentional and a few unintentional.”

With assist from the Innocence Undertaking in New York, who’re co-counsel, Lawson’s group is representing Albert “Ian” Schweitzer, the final of three Native Hawaiian males convicted in Eire’s loss of life to stay imprisoned.

It was beforehand identified that DNA proof within the case belonged to an unknown man and that each one three of the convicted males have been excluded because the supply. However what’s new, in accordance with the petition, is {that a} “Jimmy Z” model T-shirt discovered close to Eire and soaked together with her blood belonged to the identical unknown man — and to not one of many three males as prosecutors claimed.

Moreover, the petition stated, a brand new tire tread evaluation concluded that Schweitzer’s Volkswagen Beetle automotive did not depart the tire marks at both location the place Eire and her bicycle have been discovered. And a forensic odontologist concluded that an damage on her left breast wasn’t a bitemark as beforehand believed, the petition stated.

“At a brand new trial at the moment, a jury wouldn’t convict Mr. Schweitzer of Ms. Eire’s sexual assault and homicide,” the petition stated. “The truth is, a prosecutor would probably not even arrest Mr. Schweitzer for this crime.”

The probability that each one three males participated in a sexual assault and left no hint of organic proof — even none uncovered with superior forensic testing — is “terribly unbelievable,” the petition stated.

In a listening to that is anticipated to be scheduled, a choose will contemplate the protection’s request to vacate Schweitzer’s sentence and launch him.

Eire’s family could not instantly be reached for touch upon the petition.

In 2019, Schweitzer’s attorneys and Hawaii County prosecutors entered right into a “conviction integrity settlement” to reinvestigate the case. It was the primary time in Hawaii there’s been such a settlement, Lawson stated, which is more and more getting used to reexamine questionable convictions and guard towards future errors.

A lot of the background on the Eire case is detailed in a doc filed with the petition itemizing information that protection attorneys and prosecutors have stipulated.

In 1994, police made what they believed to be a significant breakthrough. A person dealing with costs for his position in a cocaine conspiracy had contacted police and claimed that his half-brother, Frank Pauline Jr., witnessed Eire’s assault, in accordance with the stipulated information doc.

Police interviewed Pauline, who was in his third month of a 10-year sentence for an unrelated intercourse assault and theft. He claimed that brothers Ian and Shawn Schweitzer had attacked and killed Eire. However he was interviewed at the least seven occasions and gave inconsistent accounts every time — ultimately incriminating himself, the stipulation doc stated.

Regardless of the shortage of proof linking them to the killing, the 2 Schweitzers and Pauline have been indicted in 1997.

At one level the costs have been dismissed as a result of all three males have been excluded because the supply of semen present in Eire and on a hospital gurney sheet — however they have been indicted once more after one other informant claimed that Ian Schweitzer confessed to him in jail that Pauline raped and killed Eire.

Pauline later stated he provided particulars to police in regards to the Eire homicide as a way to get drug costs dropped towards his half-brother.

In a jail interview with the A&E present “American Justice,” Pauline in contrast his story to the story of the boy who cried wolf. “Wasn’t me,” he stated in a powerful Hawaii Pidgin accent. However when he began telling the reality, he stated nobody believed him.

Shawn Schweitzer took a deal to plead responsible to manslaughter and kidnapping — and to obtain credit score for a couple of 12 months served and 5 years of probation — after seeing juries convict Pauline and his brother in 2000.

In October, Shawn Schweitzer met with prosecutors and recanted. In keeping with the stipulation doc, he pleaded responsible as a result of his “dad and mom didn’t wish to threat shedding one other son and inspired Shawn Schweitzer to do what he wanted to do to come back house and never endure the identical destiny as his brother.”

He “continues to really feel immense guilt about agreeing to the confession and getting into a responsible plea for against the law he didn’t commit and falsely implicating his brother,” the doc stated.

A polygraph take a look at in November confirmed he was telling the reality when he denied any involvement within the homicide, the doc stated.

Pauline was killed in a New Mexico jail by a fellow inmate in 2015 and Ian Schweitzer is serving his 130-year sentence in an Arizona jail due to an absence of house for inmates in Hawaii.

“Mr. Schweitzer has spent over twenty years wrongfully incarcerated primarily based on unreliable informant proof and accident reconstruction testimony,” the petition stated. “It might be unconscionable for him to proceed to stay incarcerated, given this overwhelming new proof of innocence.”

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