(The AEGIS Alliance) – A man from Hawaii who was convicted of the rape and murder of a young tourist and served over 20 years in prison was granted release after DNA evidence cleared him of the crime.
On Tuesday, 51-year-old Albert “Ian” Schweitzer was released from prison after experts testified that there was no evidence connecting him to the rape and murder of Dana Ireland. Ireland was discovered in a state of near death and partially undressed in bushes near a fishing trail in Puna, a remote area on the Big Island.
On Christmas Eve 1991, Dana Ireland, a tourist from Virginia, was hit by a vehicle, subsequently sexually assaulted, and died hours later at Hilo Medical Center.
At the scene of the incident, which occurred on a dirt road, the mangled bicycle she had been riding, a shoe, and clumps of hair were discovered.
In 2000, Albert “Ian” Schweitzer was found guilty and given a 130-year prison sentence for the crime. However, on Tuesday, Judge Peter Kubota ordered him to be immediately released. Schweitzer was one of three Hawaiian men who were imprisoned for Ireland’s murder, and he is the last one to be freed due to the Innocence Project in New York.
Upon his release, Schweitzer shared with the AP that he had mixed emotions, describing feeling nervous, anxious, and scared. He also acknowledged that the justice system is flawed and that he is among many who have been wrongfully imprisoned for crimes they did not commit.
According to a petition filed this week, DNA evidence previously presented in the case did not match Schweitzer’s profile, and all three of the convicted men were ruled out as potential sources. Additionally, a T-shirt found near Ireland, bearing the name “Jimmy Z” and stained with her blood, was determined to belong to an unidentified individual, not any of the men convicted of the crime.
Additionally, an analysis of tire treads found at the scene revealed that the marks were made by a vehicle larger than Schweitzer’s Volkswagen Beetle. A forensic odontologist also determined that an injury on Ireland’s left breast, which had previously been thought to be a bite mark, was not one, according to the petition.
“At a new trial today, a jury would not convict Mr. Schweitzer of Ms. Ireland’s sexual assault and murder,” the petition reads. “In fact, a prosecutor would likely not even arrest Mr. Schweitzer for this crime.”
Kyle James Lee – The AEGIS Alliance – This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.