HILO Hawaii -- After graduating from college in Virginia, Dana Ireland, 23, was staying with her older sister Sandra, and Sandra's boyfriend, Jim Ingham in Kapoho, Hawaii.
On Christmas Eve, 1991, Dana was riding her bicycle back from her boyfriend, Mark Evans' home, after inviting him to a family dinner. Her parents, John and Louise Ireland, of Virginia, were visiting for Christmas. At about 4:10 p.m. she left Mark's house on her bike for the nearly seven-mile ride to where her parents were staying. She took the scenic Route 137, a bouncy, twisting red cinder road on the shoreline. The route wound past Isaac Hale Beach Park to the Shack, a surfing spot where Frank Pauline Jr., Albert Ian Schweitzer, and Shawn Schweitzer arrived in a purple 1957 Volkswagen Beetle. They men whistled at her and she waved back without stopping. About 10 to 15 minutes later the Schweitzer brothers and Pauline hopped in their VW and headed in the same direction they had seen Dana going.
Dana never made it back to her parent's holiday rental home.
At about 4:30 p.m, Dana was only a half-mile from her destination when a car hit her. A local, Anna Sherrell, came across the scene and found a crushed bicycle, a white tennis shoe, tire tracks, a broken watch, fresh blood, and blond human hair. Sandra and Jim were on the way to her parent's rental when they came upon the accident scene and recognized Dana's bike. There was an accident scene with no body. Tracks on the road showed a car had ran her down and then apparently circled back to pick her up.
Twenty minutes later, five miles away in rural Waawaa, in a grove of pandanus trees, Ida Smith heard a faint cry, "Help me. Help me," coming from Dana who had been brutally attacked and left to die near a remote fishing trail. She was bleeding, she been hit by a car and raped. Her skull was partially exposed and she was covered with bite marks and scratches. Ida put a quilt over her and prayed with her while waiting for a motorist to drive by. Because the area had no electricity or telephones and due to confusion with the emergency response, it took nearly two hours before the paramedics arrived. Shortly before the paramedics arrived, an officer responded but he did not carry a first aid kit.
Dana died on the operating table at Hilo Hospital about midnight.
In 1996, a lawsuit by the Irelands against Hawaii County over the rescue delays was settled out-of-court for $452,000.
Seven and a half years after the crime, the police were still gathering evidence and had made no arrests.
In 1994, a prisoner, Frank Pauline Jr., 24, claimed he was present when two brothers, attacked Dana after smoking crack cocaine. (Pauline later denied he was present.)
Only months before the statute of limitations on kidnapping and sexual assault charges were up, brothers, Shawn Schweitzer, 21, and Albert Ian Schweitzer, 26, were indicted for murder, kidnapping, and sexual assault.
Shawn Schweitzer was16 when the crime occurred. He pleaded guilty to reduced charges of manslaughter and kidnapping as part of a plea agreement implicating his brother and Pauline, and walked away a free man with five years probation and plans to move to Nevada. He claimed he did not assault Dana but did nothing to stop his older brother, and Pauline. Nor did he report the crime. He claimed he was afraid to do anything because he was younger and smaller than the others but he told them to go get help, pushed his to brother leave, and got Pauline to leave during his attack.
Pauline, 26, was sentenced to serve a minimum of 180 years in prison. Albert Ian Schweitzer, 28, was sentenced to life in prison with parole, to be followed by two consecutive 20-year terms.
Murder in Paradise tracks the long investigation culminating with the 1994 confession of Frank Pauline. Despite recanting his confession on the stand, Frank was sentenced to life. Two other men were also sentenced for the crime, but forensic scientists could link no physical evidence to any of the accused. AMERICAN JUSTICEŽ interviews the two convicted killers who remain in prison and speaks with a forensic scientist who vehemently believes that they were wrongfully convicted. Could it be that Dana Ireland's killer is still at large?
Kari & Associates
Copyright Kari Sable 2005