SALT LAKE CITY – Pelle Wall made some opening remarks outside the courtroom Wednesday before he watched his father go to trial for the murder of his mother, Uta von Schwedler. He was one of his father’s first accusers.
“This trial is something we have long been awaiting,” he said. “I think we’re all a little nervous but also excited about the prospect of closure.”
Former Pediatrician John Wall was arrested in April 2013 and charged with murder.
He and von Schwedler went through a bitter divorce in 2006 followed by a long custody battle. Uta had a high amount of Xanax in her system when she died. Wednesday, prosecutors told jurors this was a homicide and they have enough evidence to prove Wall murdered his ex-wife.
“We’ll tell you this investigation showed a struggle occurred in her bedroom. She was not alone, someone else was there,” said Anna Rossi, prosecuting attorney.
The defense says they believe Uta's death was an accident or a suicide.
"The state says all of this is motive for murder. I'll ask you a simple question, is that a motive for murder or a motive for self-injury?" said Defense Attorney Fred Metos during opening statements.
The first witness to take the stand was Uta's boyfriend Nils Abramson, who discovered her lying dead in the bathtub on September 27, 2011.
The 911 call Abramson made to police was played in court.
Dispatcher: "Do you think she is beyond help?
Abramson: "yes. She's dead."
“I pulled her out and right away from the stiffness, I knew she was dead," Abramson said.
Jurors saw photos of Uta, as well as blood stains in the bathroom, and on her clothing and bedding.
The trial is expected to last at least four weeks. If convicted, John Wall could spend the rest of his life in prison.