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Prisoner acquitted of 1991 murder of Dana Ireland, released

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25 Jan. Related Photo Gallery: Hawaii man jailed for 1991 murder is acquitted and released

More than three decades after a 23-year-old tourist from Virginia was abducted, raped and left for dead on a remote trail in Puna on Christmas Eve, a Hilo judge vacated the remaining inmate’s sentence after hearing new evidence that he was not did. do it.

Albert “Ian” Schweitzer, 51, was immediately released to his family after serving 23 years in prison. Third Circuit Court Judge Peter K. Kubota heard testimony from a UKTN lab analyst and forensic tape and bite mark experts who outlined how none of the evidence linked him or his two alleged co-conspirators to the 1991 murder of Dana Ireland.

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Kubota alluded to a “great community and media outcry” that may have contributed to Ian Schweitzer’s conviction, noting that UKTN analysis technology had advanced significantly since the 2000 conviction.

After hearing the evidence during a more than seven-hour hearing, Kubota ruled it “proves conclusively that a jury in a retrial was likely to reach a new verdict of acquittal.”

None of the UKTN evidence gathered through a rape kit and blood-stained clothing belonged to Schweitzer, his brother Shawn, or Frank Pauline Jr.

The source of the UKTN of “all biological evidence in this case belongs to one person, Unknown Male No. 1.”

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The unknown suspect’s “skin and sperm cells were recovered in a Jimmy Z brand T-shirt soaked in Dana Ireland’s blood found near her body; the sperm of the unknown man No. 1 was also found in Ms. Ireland’s vaginal swab and the stretcher sheet used to transport her and the UKTN of the unknown male No. 1 matches the UKTN found on Ms. Ireland’s pubic crest and her underwear,” the memo said.

“The results of the UKTN test show that they are innocent… Unknown Male No. 1 committed this heinous crime,” said Barry C. Scheck in court.

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Deputy Prosecutor Shannon M. Kagawa tried 23 years ago to argue that an unknown suspect and the lack of UKTN evidence were known to prosecutors and the jury and they convicted him anyway.

“The theory at trial was always that there was another person involved,” Kagawa said in court. “The jury knew that and found the defendant guilty anyway.”

Kubota urged Schweitzer to “embrace and love your family” and not focus on the anger and resentment toward the process or the people who left him in prison for a third of his life.