Shawn Schweitzer

County of Conviction:

Convicted of:

Sentence:

Arrest:

Release:

2023

case details

Shawn and Ian Schweitzer were wrongly convicted of the kidnapping, sexual assault, and murder of Dana Ireland.

In the quiet town of Hawai’i on December 24, 1991, a young woman named Dana Ireland faced a tragic fate. Struck by a vehicle while riding her bicycle, Dana suffered a terrible assault, and her life was cut short on Christmas morning. What followed was a series of events that led to the unjust accusations against two brothers, Shawn and Ian Schweitzer.

After Dana’s death, the police searched for the vehicles involved – a dark truck and a beige van. Despite collecting evidence like Dana’s clothes and a child’s shoe stained with her blood, the case went cold for three years.

In 1994, a man named Frank Pauline, already in prison, claimed involvement in Dana’s tragic end and pointed fingers at the Schweitzer brothers. Shawn, just sixteen at the time, found himself accused. However, doubts arose as Pauline’s story didn’t match the details, and there was a history of conflict between the Paulines and Schweitzers.

Adding to the confusion, Pauline’s half-brother, facing drug charges, supported the accusations. He got a plea deal in return. As Pauline received benefits for sharing information, other informants stepped forward, each getting lighter sentences for their testimonies.

In 1997, a grand jury indicted the Schweitzer brothers for Dana’s murder, but the court dismissed the charges a year later. DNA tests proved Ian, Shawn, and Pauline were not involved. Despite this, the legal battle continued.

In 1999, the brothers faced another trial based on a jailhouse informant’s statements. Ian was convicted, and Shawn, fearing a similar fate, agreed to a plea deal, receiving probation.

Things changed when Pauline recanted his statements. Investigators found alibi evidence that hadn’t been shared during the trial. Crucially, post-conviction DNA testing revealed an unknown fourth suspect. This person’s DNA didn’t match any known profiles, indicating the real culprit was still out there. In light of the overwhelming evidence of innocence, Shawn’s plea bargain was withdrawn and Ian and Pauline’s convictions were finally reversed.

As we follow Shawn Schweitzer’s fight for justice, we hope that one day the real perpetrator will be brought to light, providing closure to the tragic chapter in Dana Ireland’s story and vindication for Shawn.

 

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