Do I risk Life in prison or lie?

That is the question that faced Shawn Schweitzer in the spring of 2000.

Frank Pauline, Jr.:  On August 27, 1999, Frank Pauline was found guilty by a Hilo Hawai'i jury of the kidnapping, sexual assault and second degree murder of Dana Ireland. He was sentenced to three life terms in prison, consecutive - a minimum of 180 years.

Albert Ian Schweitzer:  On February 15, 2000, Albert Ian Schweitzer was found guilty by a Hilo jury of kidnapping, sexual assault and second degree murder of Dana Ireland. The key witness against him was Michael Ortiz, a convicted felon serving a 10 year sentence. Ian was sentenced to Life in prison, 130 years minimum. 

Shawn Schweitzer: Next up was Shawn Schweitzer, but he didn't go to trial. The Hawai'i County prosecutor offered a deal. If Shawn entered a straight plea* of guilty to Manslaughter and Kidnapping the prosecutor would drop the sexual assault and murder charges, the prosecutor would recommend to the judge that Shawn serve one year in prison and five years probation. Shawn had already spent 16 months in jail waiting for trial.  On April 17, 2000, the prosecution and defense announced their plea agreement. Shawn walked out of the Hilo jail a free man. 

What would you do? Would you lie to avoid life in prison?

Shortly after the plea deal was reached and Shawn was released from custody, the Hawaii County prosecutor issued a press release stating that Shawn had given a full and detailed confession and had passed a lie detector administered by the Hawai'i Attorney General's office.  It was true that Shawn had confessed, but it was not true that he had passed a polygraph.

On May 9, 2000, Shawn appeared for sentencing. He admitted to being in the car when his brother ran Dana Ireland over. He said Frank Pauline was responsible for the kidnapping and rape of Dana Ireland. There was no mention of a fourth attacker. 

After the hearing, DPA Lincoln Ashida informed the press and directly contradicted what the two juries had been told by the judge, the attorneys and DNA experts. Ashida believed the male DNA at the scene belonged to Frank Pauline. He thought the lab report was incorrect and had given a false reading. 

If you believe:

a) Shawn Schweitzer passed a polygraph in support of his plea 
b) the sperm DNA belonged to Frank Pauline

then the case is over.  However, neither statement is true.

Shawn Schweitzer lied to avoid life in prison. He did not pass a polygraph.

The DNA test was accurate and eliminated Frank Pauline, Albert Ian Schweitzer and Shawn Schweitzer as the source of the DNA.  Below is an excerpt from the January 1999 DNA lab report.


To learn more about wrongful convictions and the Dana Ireland case go to our website:

Judge Mike Heavey (Ret.)

* A straight plea usually involves admitting guilt in the underlying charges and giving the judge facts that support a finding of guilty. The judge then finds facts sufficient to support the plea and judges the defendant guilty.

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