Friday, August 3, 2012

The Killing of Dana Ireland

Dana Ireland
“Help me! Help me!” were the last words anyone would ever hear Dana Ireland speak.
It was Christmas Eve 1991 and rural Big Island resident Ida Smith heard a quivering voice begging for help beyond a tangle of brush and followed it with a feeling of dread to a fishing trail near the ocean.
The girl was lying on her back in a rock-strewn, plant-thorny spot, her cut-off jeans and panties pulled down to her ankles thus revealing her total nakedness and her legs spread wide in a suggestive manner. Her head was covered with blood and her bra was hanging on a nearby branch, an unholy memento of an obvious rape.
The scene took place adjacent a remote dirt road seldom used because of many potholes and furrows that made driving dangerous. There were no phones, no electricity and no running water in this section of Waawaa, Hawaii. As the concerned Ida hurried back to her house to get a quilt to cover the girl’s nakedness she encountered a passing motorist who used her cellular phone to call for help.
On her journey back with the quilt Ida flagged down a passing car carrying three men and a woman. She persuaded them to follow her down the winding trial where the injured girl was presently in a state of convulsions.
“She was really bust up,” one of the men told a detective. “She looked like someone really beat her up badly. She was in shock already. She didn’t know her name.”
Facts sworn to later indicated a extraordinary paradox that reveals the unexpected in human nature under stress. Ida left the others to comfort the victim while she trudged uptrail to fetch a nurse she knew lived in the area.
Returning to the scene, the nurse suggested they carry Dana from the jungle to the fishing trial where she tried desperately to plug up the giser of blood trickling from the woman’s head. It was dark now, so the nurse worked by the headlights of the car while the others formed a chain of hands and prayed.
The case achieved a clamor throughout the Island because it took the ambulance 2 hours to arrive at the rescue spot. Different theories emerged during the investigation, which had been advanced by various people; a police dispatcher took too long to notify Fire Department paramedics; paramedics refused to drive down the hazardous dirt road for fear of getting stuck; imprecise directions given to the paramedics.
In any case, precious minutes were lost and the volcano of vocal abuse poured upon the administration responsible deserved no vindication.
Five miles away, in the area where Dana lived with her sister Sandy, a neighbor called police to say she had found a crumpled bicycle, a shoe, a watch and gobs of blonde hair on a red cinder road adjacent her house. She noticed “acceleration marks” like a driver had deliberately floor-boarded his car to hit the bicycle. The cinders, she said, had been “spun out” and scattered like a blast from a shotgun. The roots of the corn-colored hair were sticky with blood.
Meanwhile, Sandy was concerned that something macabre had happened to her sister. She thought about how Dana loved her so much that as soon as she finished college she moved to Hawaii to be with her in Vacationland, a beautiful beach community by the ocean. Her parents had flown in from Virginia for the holidays and were living in a rented bungalow nearby. The last day they would spend together as a family was Christmas Eve, 1991, when they went Christmas shopping in Hilo.
Now it was 6 p.m. and still no word from Dana.
At 3 o’clock that same afternoon, Dana had borrowed Sandy’s bike to peddle over to invite her boyfriend to spend Christmas dinner with her family. Sandy was worried enough to call her parents and they all drove over to the boyfriend’s house to inquire about Dana. She was there, he said, but she was anxious to get home before dark, and left. The bicycle ride was seven miles back home and shouldn’t have been a problem for the slim, well-conditioned athletic as long as she stayed on the extreme edges of the road, where the ground was firmer.
Dana’s boyfriend lived in a small house by the side of the road and the route from his house to Puna, where the girl lived, was bordered on both sides by a heavy armor of moist-cored shrubbery that gave the area a cathedral-like peacefulness. It was also dangerous.
The young man was surprised that Dana hadn’t returned home by now because she left around 4 p.m.
“I watched her peddle away and I was thinking to myself that she was such a beautiful girl. The road was so messed up, and she was wearing tight shorts that left little to the imagination, and it could be very easy to wipe out going down the road. I thought to myself, ‘Don’t scar up those beautiful legs.’”
While searching for Dana, the family came upon her mangled bike on the side of the road. A woman was describing to a policeman how she found the bike on the shoulder of the road. Sandy immediately recognized the bike as the one she had loaned her sister earlier in the day.
While Sandy was giving police officer Harold Pinnow a detailed description of her missing sister a message crackled over the squad car radio saying that a woman was injured in Hawaiian Beaches. There was always the possibility that the injured woman could be Dana. The Irelands burnt up the road getting to the Hilo Hospital.
Nurse Reggie Agliam knew it was Dana from the description the Ireland family gave him. He cautioned them to prepare for the worst-case scenario; when they wheeled Dana into the emergency room her blood pressure was so low doctor’s could barely detect it.

Frank Pauline
Dana lingered. She was conscious but incoherent with symptoms of loss of memory, inability to concentrate, tremors and finally had to be strapped down to keep her from trying to sit up. As she lapsed into unconsciousness she was given a half-gallon of blood during the next twenty minutes.
As her family wretchedly paced the floor in the hospital corridor, wringing their hands in a torment of remorse and despair, Dana was wheeled from the operating room to the intensive care unit in a moribund state — barely clinging to life.
Nursing supervisor Mary Sakanashi said even as Dana started to slip away the hospital staff applied cardiopulmonary resuscitation and Dr. Ruben Casile took vaginal swabs from her body. Symptoms of spermatozoa was present on her public hair, but undetectable in Dana’s vagina or anus. He saw under a microscope that the few spermatozoa that were detected were tailless. This DNA evidence and a PGM subtype for a panty stain would be of little use in a court of law. Anyone could have been the semen donor.
Dana lingered throughout the night in excruciating pain and the eventual fate of the 5-foot-4, 110-pound, 23-year-old visitor from Virginia was death. Her family was devastated.
The unimaginable brutality of the assault by a predator with a rapacious sexual appetite swept across the artistic hills and valleys of Big Island’s Puna county shocking the inhabitants and sending homicide investigators scurrying in every direction to ferret out clues and question neighbors. But there were no answers and only the skid marks in the cinders to indicate that the killer had deliberately run down the girl, then carted her mangled body into an umbrella of thick foliage where he raped and ravaged the girl to the point it sickened the innards and twined the hearts of even shock-oriented detectives who were rounding up all known sex criminals for questioning.
http://archives.starbulletin.com/1999/06/08/ireland/art.jpg
People who knew and loved Dana in Springfield, Virginia, a suburb some 11 miles southwest of Washington, D.C., where the Irelands lived for 37 years, were overwhelmed with grief when they learned of her murder. Residents in the Accotink Creek neighborhood attended a memorial for her and several people spoke about the beautiful girl who attended Keene Mill Elementary, Washington Irving Middle School, West Springfield High, Radford University and eventually George Mason University where she graduated in 1991 with a degree in physical education with a sports medicine emphasis.
There were a few chuckles mixed with tears. One speaker remembered that when Dana asked her father what her middle initial M stood for he told her “Magoo,” a nickname she had been unable to shake.
She was a tomboy and usually wore cut-off jeans, shirts and sneakers. She was a ‘plain Jane’ in a sense that she seldom wore makeup. Particular about her diet, she exercised religiously, didn’t smoke, and shunned people who took drugs.
For the next 2-1/2 years the case was embarrassingly kicked around like a football with the whole of Big Island accusing police of conducting a shoddy investigation; both crime scenes, the one in Kapoho where the bike was found and the one in Waawaa where her body was found, were foolishly left unattended overnight. When police returned the next day to continue the investigation the tire tracks were gone.
When the break police were waiting for finally did come it arrived like a bolt from the blue, proving the old adage that the only real punishment comes from within.
Frank Pauline Jr., 21, in 1994, was serving time for an unrelated case when God whispered to him to tell the truth. He called his brother from prison and confessed that he and two brothers from the Waawaa area were responsible for the death of Dana Ireland.
His brother said he didn’t turn Frankie in because he had a pending drug case and wanted to cut a deal. It was wrong and he felt for the Ireland family, he said. Nevertheless, his pending case was dismissed for his testimony.
Frankie told the same story he told his brother to homicide detectives when they visited him in prison, describing the incident in such clinical detail that even these hardened officials paled. He told the story to a newspaper interviewer and bragged about the grisly crime on television, taking full responsibility for his actions.
Frankie’s original story was that he and the two local brothers were driving along in a beat-up Volkswagen when they spotted Dana peddling her bike and gave her obscene gestures like wiggling their tongues through spread lips. He blamed a luckless combination of beer and cocaine for his actions.
When Dana ignored them the brother who was driving the car was seized with rage. He made a U-turn and ran over the girl. “He banged her,” Frankie said without the slightest trace of remorse. “He backed up and ran over her again. It was really cool.”
Frankie added to the story: They dragged her limp, bleeding body into the Volkswagen Beetle and took her to a lonely spot where only transitory stems of light penetrated to the dim forest floor. They laid down a sheet and the two brothers took turns raping her and while he did not participate in the actual rape he achieved a sexual climax watching his two friends have intercourse with the dying woman.
I found her there.
She was crying and begging them not to hurt her anymore, Frankie said. “You know, to ‘Stop already, please, I’m not going to say nothing.’”
The Volkswagen was parked closeby in a spread of gaps between a cluster of trees. Frankie went to the car and returned with a tire iron. He said he derived satisfaction from the sight of Dana cowering in terror as he looked her straight in the face and bashed her skull, spilling blood and brain tissue.
She was bleeding from her head and vagina and left to die all alone in a jungle patch south of Hilo where even seasoned hikers feared to tread.
On June 19, 1994, after the wrongdoer had confessed everything to Detective Steve Guillermo he was taken under heavy guard to the Maui Community Correctional Center where his attorney learned of his confession and told him to button his lip. After conferring with his mouthpiece Frankie recanted his confession.
But Detective Guillermo had neglected to record Frankie’s confession on tape, although the equipment was readily at hand: the part about driving over Dana being similar to going over a speed bump; the part about Frankie enjoying pulling her pants down; the part about the three men driving to the brother’s house to change clothes and how they put their bloody underwear in a plastic bag and discarded it in some weeds on their property.
The brothers have been arrested and should not be identified here because their cases are scheduled for March 2000 and they have blamed Frankie for the entire incident.
After finding the bloody tire iron wrapped in a sheet across the street from the where Pauline lived with his parents, police went to the areas described by Frankie and retrieved the bloody clothing in a plastic trash bag.
While detectives and the district attorney logged and collected evidence from the suspect’s house, local newspapers informed inquisitive readers about the suspect’s troubled past. The Big Island was hypnotized by the revelations.
Frank Raymond Pauline Jr. was no real stranger to the law. He should have been sent to a psychiatric hospital for observation the day he was born on April 27, 1973, in Fremont, California. At the time Dana was tortured and raped he was living in a Puna subdivision not far from where she was unceremoniously raped and left to die.
From the beginning Frankie frustrated lawmen with his malicious attitude toward authority. He was jailed in 1993 but a flexible judge released him to attend a funeral on October 27 without checking to see if the funeral existed at all — which it didn’t. Frankie nonchalantly skipped town and remained on the dodge only a short time before he was captured and brought back in chains.
He was picked up many times for impairing the morals of minors before he was finally sentenced in 1994 to ten years in penal servitude for sexual assault, robbery and criminal trespass. The sexual assault conviction stemmed from a 1993 rape of a neighbor woman.
Court files colored him as a disheveled man who admitted using cocaine on a daily basis, drinking a case of beer a day and inhaling marijuana until he lost consciousness.
The day the judge sentenced him to ten years he labeled him a “walking crime wave” and wished he could send him up for life.
Before he could be sent to prison Frankie escaped. Classified as a fugitive, he was recaptured in Honolulu and returned to Halawa Correctional Facility to serve out his term. He was transferred to Maui Community Correctional Center after he accused Halawa guards of allowing inmates to toss urine on him and gloating while other prisoners intimidated him. He used state money and time to file a lawsuit against the state alleging that his civil rights were violated.
Big Island detectives flew to Oahu on June 19, interviewed Frankie, then returned him to Big Island where he led them on a reconstruction of the crime, uncovering the evidence he told Detective Guillermo about.
All three defendants were being charged with Dana’s murder but the prosecution felt the strongest case should go first. Eight years had passed before the details of the torture suffered by Dana Ireland were spelled out in Judge Riki May Amano’s Hilo courtroom by prosecutor Charlene Iboshi. In her opening statement she used the same words described by the defendant when she told the six-man, six woman jury on Wednesday, July 22, 1999, that “They banged her!”
Iboshi said she had a witness who would tell the court that Frankie came over to his house Christmas morning and bragged that he and two other fellows had “banged a girl” and left her to die.
“Frank Pauline’s conscience is starting to work on him. He’s told people he was having dreams of Dana coming to him to help her. When the defendant felt he was not getting what he wanted and felt he might be punished or blamed for something, then he starts backpedaling,” said Iboshi.
Defense attorney Cliff Hunt reminded the jury and specified throughout the trial that the defendant was cloaked in a mantle of presumed innocence and it was the prosecution’s duty to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. He said the wrong man was on trial and he named a drifter whom police arrested early in the case whose teeth he said matched bite marks found on Dana’s breasts and above the hairline of her vagina.
DNA tests had failed to tie the drifter to the case, but DNA also failed to connect Pauline or any other suspect, Hunt told the court.
Dana’s Grave
Silence fell when Hunt told jurors that forensic pathologist Werner Spitz was ready to testify that Dana’s head injury was not caused by a tire iron, but by a fender or bumper of a car striking her head-on. Additionally, another reassuring witness, Jim Campbell, would testify that the marks on Dana’s wrecked bicycle didn’t match ones that could be made by a collision with a Volkswagen Bug, but by the higher bumper of a pickup truck or a van.
The prosecution counted on members of the jury to believe her own experts who would testify that the bicycle damage positively matched a Volkswagen Bug and a further witness, Honolulu forensic pathologist Kanthi von Guenthner who felt the hole in Dana’s head was definitely caused by the blow of a tire iron as described never before by a prisoner who had so utterly convicted himself before a live television audience.
Pauline sat poker-faced and jurors grimaced as von Guenthner described the multiple injuries that caused the death of the hapless victim: She had injuries to her brain, internal bleeding in practically her entire head, “road burn” on her back, legs and thighs, a broken collarbone, a deep bite mark on her left breast that drew blood, fingernail scratches and indentations, bruise marks on her neck obviously from being choked, injuries on her mouth obviously from being repeatedly punched, bruises outside and inside her vagina and anus, and pelvic bones shattered in four places.
Certainly it was unusual for a prosecutor to point out to jurors the holes in her case during her opening statement but that’s just what Iboshi did when she told jurors that some of the medical evidence could have been lost or contaminated during a futile attempt to save Dana’s life. “There might be testimony about semen evidence that may or may not be related to this case,” she said.
Momentarily Frankie exchanged smiles with members of his family, most of whom were facing drug charges themselves, and then broke eye contact when his lawyer nudged him with his elbow.
A psychiatrist for the prosecution said ignorance of the ways of vileness contributed to this inhuman act and if Pauline had more wicked knowledge than he had, he would have never done what he did and now he would live with the treacherously administered murder for the rest of his life. Dana’s 75-year-old mother raised her saddened, moistening eyes to the defendant as she waited impatiently for her turn to stress the terrible futility of what he had done to her family.
In the face of unbreakable evidence by several distinguished psychiatrists that he possessed a twisted soul beyond all comprehension, Frankie’s knuckles whitened to a fine parchment as he gripped the arms of his chair.
The defense proceeded to prick the prosecution’s case like balloons. They fell back on the testimony of Edward T. Blake, a pioneer in the use of DNA who served as a key witness in the trial of O.J. Simpson.
Blake said he found sperm on a bedsheet where Dana was raped in brutally cynical fashion. The same sheet had been sent to the FBI lab in Washington, D. C., but it was carelessly neglected by analysts.
According to Blake he was the first person to use the polymerase chain reaction technique of DNA analysis to solve a crime. He explained that by using this procedure, scientists can replicate a small fragment of DNA millions of times outside of a living system.
Under cross-examination Blake said he had been paid $20,000 for his testimony against the state and the state was paying for Pauline’s defense. He said while in Hawaii he would earn $1,200 a day, for five days. This amused no one but Pauline, who lifted his heavy-lidded eyes from the floor and smiled.
On Monday, August 17, 1999, prosecutors rested their case after playing audio tapes of Pauline’s 1994 interviews with television reporters. In the interviews, Frankie described Dana’s perfectly proportioned body of an athlete and in a slightly haughty, pompous manner mentioned the thrill he got by pulling her panties down and watching his friends have sexual intercourse with her.
The Ireland family watched the panel with some satisfaction that certainly Frankie’s confession had enough of an agonizing effect to warrant a guilty verdict when they retired for deliberations. Even so, his departure would not lesson the suffering and pain the family would have to endure with Dana missing forever from their lives.
But the defense wasn’t dead yet. Special agent Joseph Dizinno said he performed mitochondrial DNA tests on hairs collected from items with skill and care. The reports were compared with negative results on all three men suspected of the crime.
Since mitochondrial DNA is passed from mother to child, a blood sample was also taken from Dana’s mother because they would have the same mitochondrial DNA, Dizinno told the court. The hairs found on a T-shirt and underwear, and hairs found in the trunk of the Volkswagen Bug, were different from one another and the DNA proved that everyone involved could be eliminated as the source of hairs.
In his closing augment, Hunt brought out several discrepancies in the case against his client and damned the police investigation as being careless and shoddy — a fact the prosecutor admitted in her opening statement.
Hunt brought out the fact that Frankie said Dana was placed in the trunk of the Volkswagen after they ran her down, but investigators never measured the trunk to see if it was possible to put someone of Dana’s size in the Bug trunk.
Under cross-examination Detective Guillermo admitted that he had no idea if Dana could have fit in the trunk.
It seemed odd to Hunt that the police found a bloody T-shirt at the scene yet never contacted area retailers to see how common the shirt was that police said fit Pauline perfectly. Moreover, they did an extensive investigation on the origins of a bloody shoe found at the scene, tracing the manufactor, retailers and accumulating information from store clerks and the shoe did not prove to belong to Frankie.
Detective Guillermo admitted that he did not videotape Pauline’s confession although equipment to do so was at hand. Guillermo also conceded that he only assumed the FBI had examined the bloody sheet found at the scene but later found out no tests were conducted.
And what about the gurney sheet, on which Ireland lay as the ambulance rushed her from Waawaa to the Hilo Hospital after a 2 hour delay, Hunt asked anxiously. It too, was sent to the lab and overlooked.
It was only after Blake discovered evidence of sperm that authorities conducting the investigation sent the sheet to an independent lab in Hayward, California.
Scientists in Hayward ruled out Pauline as sources of the sperm, Hunt said.
Frank Pauline in Handcuffs
Hunt suggested to the jury that the police were being pressured by the Irelands and the media to make an arrest and they made no effort to substantiate Pauline’s confession or corroborate his story with physical evidence.
“Just because someone confesses to a crime doesn’t mean he did it,” Hunt said. Hunt looked like the cat that had swallowed the canary as he rested his case. The 26-year old defendant, with his state-bought black slacks, pinstriped white shirt, conservative gray tie, neatly combed hair and goatee, smiled one last charade as the jury filed out.
But that smile lasted as long as a sexless honeymoon.
On Friday, August 28, 1999 the StarBulletin, bannered giant headlines: ‘ JUSTICE FOR DANA’.
After sorting through six weeks of falsehoods, half-truths, a chain of circumstantial evidence and objective scientific testimony, the jury took 14 hours to determine that Frankie Pauline killed Dana Ireland and a court seething with fury broke out in cheers.
This was Hawaii, not Texas or Virginia. There would be no death sentence for the defendant who sat with a lack of emotion in the face of life in prison with the possibility of parole on the murder charge. The sexual assault and kidnapping charges carry sentences up to 20 years each, which could result in three life terms.
And that was basically that. Except the Irelands sued Hawaii County over the rescue delays and won $452,000 in an out-of-court settlement.

1 comment:

  1. this case is questionable at best.

    Was there not a rape kit? The only sperm sample was on a hospital sheet. That could easily be from someone else. By the time she reached the hospital, the sperm would not have flowed that easy. And if there was sperm on a sheet belonging to her body, then it should be on her body as well. It is impossible for anything else. There are sick folks in medicine.

    They didn't match ANY of the DNA or even the tire tracks. The only thing they had was a confession from a questionable character.

    Don't get me wrong, if they did it they are where they belong, but this case would never have even gone to court on the Mainland USA. The folks of Hilo were mortified and wanted this over.

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