Crime Scene Expert: ‘There’s Some Violence Going On’ in Alleged Utah Murder Victim’s Bedroom

February 19, 2015

By Jessica Miller

The Salt Lake Tribune


Before Uta von Schwedler was found dead in a bathtub in her Sugar House home, there was a struggle in her bedroom between two people, a crime scene reconstructionist told a Salt Lake City jury Thursday.

As expert witness Ron Englert pointed to various blood stains on von Schwedler’s comforter on Thursday, he told jurors that he felt the blood spatter and crumpled bedding were indicative of a fight.

“This comforter is consistent with a violent struggle,” he testified. “There’s some violence going on, a struggle. More than one person.”

Prosecutors have accused von Schwedler’s ex-husband, Johnny Brickman Wall, of killing her on Sept. 27, 2011.

Englert testified during the second day of trial for the 51-year-old former Salt Lake City pediatrician, who is charged in 3rd District Court with first-degree felony murder.

Englert gave a presentation to the jurors about the types of blood spatter found in von Schwedler’s home, smearing stage blood on white cardboard. He then showed jurors every item found in von Schwedler’s home that had blood on it: a tank top, a comforter, a sheet and a rug.

He also told jurors that he felt cuts to von Schwedler’s wrist and leg were defensive, not a result of self-harm.

“It was in defense of an altercation,” he said in reference to the injuries. “A struggle where the appendages got in the way.”

Englert also said the blood spatter did not indicate that von Schwedler was intoxicated and harming herself.

“I’ve never seen a scene like this that was ever a suicide,” he said. “Or that was an accident.”

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Expert at Doctor’s Trial: Blood spatter Indicates Struggle

February 19, 2015

Washington Post

By Lindsay Whitehurst, Associated Press


SALT LAKE CITY — A bloody comforter found on the bed of Utah doctor’s ex-wife shows she was attacked and her death was staged to look like a suicide, a blood spatter expert testified Thursday.

Rod Englert unfurled the brightly colored green-and-blue comforter during the second day of the trial against Salt Lake City pediatrician John Brickman Wall, who is accused of killing the cancer researcher amid a bitter custody dispute.

Uta von Schwedler was found dead in 2011 in a bathtub full of cold water with wounds on her wrist and leg. Englert said it appeared she got those cuts while defending herself from someone with a knife.

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Son Claims John Wall Responsible for Uta von Schwedler’s Death, Trial Begins Tuesday in Salt Lake

By Kelly Keiter

Fox13 News

February 15, 2015



SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH – The long-awaited trial for a Utah pediatrician accused of killing his ex-wife begins Tuesday.

Uta von Schwedler was found dead in her own bathtub in Sugar House on September 27, 2011. She was a 49-year-old researcher at the University of Utah. The medical examiner called it a drowning, but she had cuts and bruises–and family members suspected her ex-husband John Wall.

“His behavior, I think, immediately after was very unusual, highly unusual, very suspicious,” Pelle Von Schwedler-Wall said of his father.

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Trial Set to Begin for Doctor Charged in Ex-Wife’s Death

By Brady McCombs

Associated Press

February 16, 2015

[excerpt] After the couple divorced in 2006, they become ensnarled in a bitter custody battle. Police say John Wall told people that his ex-wife was ruining the good things in his life and blamed her for his problems.

The couple’s oldest son, Pelle Wall, fueled speculation about his dad being a suspect even before he was arrested by saying he believed his father did it and asking the court to remove his two youngest siblings from his father’s custody.

He testified during a bail hearing that his father is a dangerous man who should not be released from jail, saying he was so afraid of his father when he was living with him that he slept with a pellet gun and a knife.

He said his father came into his room the morning after his mother died said to him and his three siblings, “Uta is dead and they think I did it.” He curled up in a fetal position on the bed and said, “Only a monster could have done this; am I monster?” and “What if I did this and I don’t remember? How do I know what I do when I’m asleep?”


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Murder Trial Begins Tuesday for Former Pediatrician Accused of Murdering his Ex-wife

By McKenzie Romero

Deseret News

February 16, 2015

[excerpt] Von Schwedler’s friends and family have loudly and publicly contested that her death, Sept. 27, 2011, could not have been suicide, laying blame on Wall and the couple’s tempestuous relationship through the end of their marriage and following their 2006 divorce.

Born in Germany, Von Schwedler was a renowned biologist at the University of Utah and an avid outdoorswoman. Wall was a popular pediatrician. Following their divorce and in the days leading up to von Schwedler’s death, custody disputes over their four children became especially bitter.

The oldest Wall son, Pelle, 17 at the time of his mother’s death, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against his father in December 2012. The lawsuit was a response to John Wall’s attempt to sue his son over a set of prized family scrapbooks, handmade by von Schwedler and hotly contested following the dissolution of the couple’s marriage.

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Attorneys Spar Over Evidence Allowed at Upcoming Utah Murder Trial

By Jessica Miller, The Salt Lake Tribune

Jan 26, 2015

With just over three weeks until his murder trial is scheduled to begin, a former Utah pediatrician accused of killing his ex­wife was in court Friday as attorneys argued whether his statements made during a six­hour disposition in a civil case can be used against him.

John Brickman Wall, 51, has pleaded not guilty to first­degree felony counts of murder and aggravated burglary in connection to Uta von Schwedler’s 2011 death. But before the murder charge was filed against Wall in April 2013, he was involved in a civil lawsuit with his teenage son, Pelle von Schwedler Wall. The father sued Pelle Wall for possession of scrapbooks made by his late mother, and the now­ 21­ year ­old son filed a wrongful death counterclaim, claiming that his father gave von Schwedler a
lethal dose of a controlled substance and drowned her in a bathtub.

In March 2013, John Wall testified for over six hours in a civil disposition at the Salt Lake City courthouse. Prosecutors in the murder case want portions of the testimony admitted at Wall’s upcoming trial. But John Wall’s attorneys argued in court papers admittance of the testimony “turns on the question of whether the civil wrongful death suit was filed and [Wall’s] deposition taken for the purpose of obtaining evidence for criminal prosecution.”

Third District Judge James Blanch ruled Friday that while there was no reason for the deposition to be barred from trial for “hearsay grounds” or violations of John Wall’s constitutional amendments, defense attorneys could object to the evidence at trial under grounds of relevance or other legal rules.

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Doctor Wants DNA Evidence Left Out of Murder Case

By Lindsay Whitehurst

Associated Press

November 10, 2014

SALT LAKE CITY — Lawyers for a Salt Lake City pediatrician accused of killing his ex-wife asked a judge Monday to toss DNA evidence gathered from skin cells found underneath her fingernails and on a pillowcase.

An attorney for John Brickman Wall, 50, said investigators found about three skin cells — not enough to draw any conclusions. A prosecutor conceded the evidence doesn’t point directly to Wall, but said it does eliminate nine other possible suspects.

The DNA on the pillowcase could have come from any one of the couple’s four children, according to Elizabeth Johnson, an expert testifying for the defense during a hearing Monday who said her calculations show it didn’t come from Wall. Prosecutors disputed that.

The DNA is a key piece of evidence in the case, which was filed more than a year after the death of 49-year-old Uta Von Schwedler, a biologist at the University of Utah.

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Three Years. A Note from Anna von Schwedler

3 years?

3 years!

So much happened in the last 3 years that Uta couldn’t experience any more.

And why?

How crazy can a man be to destroy someone’s life and therefore change the life of his own family?

Justice will come.

Uta, I am thinking of you every day!


Sept. 27th 2014

canned apricots in Uta’s garden

^^ This is a photo that Uta sent me of her canned apricots from her garden all in a row. So typical of Uta.

Uta wearing her son's hat

Uta wearing her son’s hat (2010)

Uta and two of her children in a castle in Germany

Uta and two of her children in a castle in Germany 2008

^^ also very typical of Uta. She was always carrying sweets in her bag and offering them to others


 [ German version ]

3 Jahre?

3 Jahre!

3 Jahre, in denen so viel passiert ist, was Uta nicht mehr miterleben konnte.

Warum nur?

Wie verrückt muss man sein, um ein anderes Leben zu zerstören und mit dem Mord auch das Leben der eigenen Familie grundlegend zu verändern?

Es wird Gerechtigkeit geben.

Uta, ich denke jeden Tag an dich!



New here? Watch the 48 Hours Episode about Uta

48 Hours

The untimely death of Uta von Schwedler shocked her family and friends. Some called it a suicide, while others knew it was a murder. This CBS 48 Hours show follows the story of Uta’s eldest son (Pelle Wall) and his fight for justice for his mother. After suspecting his father for months — at the young age of eighteen — Pelle finally left his home, moved in with a new family, and together they began an arduous quest to prove Pelle’s father’s guilt and rescue his three younger siblings from harms way. 

click HERE to watch the full episode, web-exclusive clips, and more.

(originally aired in April 2014)