Freed after 20 years, Hawaii man reflects on case, future


  • 19990608 - Dana Ireland. Press release photo.

  • Hawaii Innocence Project co-director Kenneth Lawson, left, and law student Skye Jansen go over files and photos related to the 1991 murder of Dana Ireland in Honolulu on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023. A petition filed Monday, Jan. 23 outlining new evidence in one of Hawaii's biggest criminal cases asks a judge to release Albert “Ian” Schweitzer, a Native Hawaiian man who has spent more than 20 years in prison for the sexual assault, kidnapping and murder of Ireland, a white woman, on the Big Island. (AP Photo/Jennifer Sinco Kelleher)

  • A court officer removes Albert “Ian” Schweitzer’s handcuffs following the judge’s decision to release him from prison immediately after his attorneys presented new evidence at a hearing Tuesday in Hilo. (Marco Garcia/The Innocence Project via AP Images)

  • Albert “Ian” Schweitzer talks to the press outside the Hilo courthouse minutes after his conviction for the 1991 murder, rape and kidnapping of Dana Ireland was overturned Tuesday. To his left is Ken Lawson, co-director of the Hawaii Innocence Project. (JOHN BURNETT/Hawaii Tribune-Herald)

HONOLULU — On Ian Schweitzer’s first morning of freedom Wednesday, he woke up in a hotel room, looked over the balcony at the ocean and took in the beauty of the island he had been away from for over 20 years while imprisoned for a 1991 killing and rape he has always maintained he didn’t commit.